Push Mix Delivers

Family — Legacy — Destiny

Schwartz and Fedak promised that the last 10 minutes of Push Mix would be the best 10 minutes of Chuck, ever … and the most epic moment possible. From where I sit, they made good on the promise. Push Mix gave me everything I love about Chuck and did it with much heart and humor.

We were treated to Ellie Bartowski! Woodcomb; Awesome losing and finding his awesomeness; Chuck at his hero best; Sarah Walker (Bartowski) in action; MamaB’s rescue; the long overdue defeat of Alexei Volkoff; the best-ever family moments on Chuck; and the proposal.

Besides delivering a balance of action, comedy, drama, and romance, Push Mix did justice to the mythology, the themes, and the story lines of the series, the season, and the Balcony arc (11-13). If not my favorite episode, it definitely leads the pack. Picking my favorite Chuck episode comes down to a photo finish, and Push Mix is nose to nose with the very best.

Family

We begin in the hospital with a family moment. John Casey, the cold school killer, fell into a big pot of jam the day he was assigned to Chuck Bartowski. That made him family, whether he wanted it or not and placed him under the protection of Ellie Bartowski, who is almost as good at giving orders as the Colonel. She’s also good at reminding Chuck what’s important. Sometimes intentionally, “You are a Bartowski, Chuck. Start acting like one,” … still one of the greatest speeches ever given on Chuck. Sometimes casually:

Chuck and I do anything for family.

Finally, Casey speaks. Who knew the word “pants” could be so exciting? Apparently it is, even if you don’t know what it means. Hurray. Chuck finds the evil eye and flashes on Hydra. Score one for the good guys.

Leaving one family/spy scene, we check in on another family/spy relationship, the mother-spy/daughter-spy partnership … and a very cool spidy-bot. It’s no secret how much I love the developing bond between Mary and Sarah. I like the ease with which they are working together. I liked Sarah telling Mary she should answer Alexei’s call … and Mary’s total exasperation at having to do so. The call itself was a hoot, Mary placating Alexei like the rather large, albeit extraordinarily evil, child that he is, “Yes, I know. I can see you. … How was your day?” Poor Alexei, had to let someone go … off a 30 story building. Most bosses just fire their troublesome employees … lame, right?

One more piece of information (the Contessa, whoever she is), one step closer to Hydra, and one step closer to outa here.

Well, it’s good-news/bad-news for Chuck. General’s orders? He has to wait while the CIA follows up on leads. This sounds awfully familiar. Oh yeah, except last time it was a worried-to-death, impatient Sarah who was told to wait. Did she wait? Of course not. And neither will Chuck.

Legacy

No, Morgan. I can’t do this anymore. … Ellie’s right. Bartowski’s take care of their family, and right now it’s time I put mine back together again.

This was my father’s mission, and I have to finish it. And we’re going to take down Volkoff.

The mission, what he’s got to lose, who he’s fighting for … it all crystallizes in a heart-beat, and Chuck takes ownership of the Orion legacy. His father’s legacy is now his.

Morgan in total shock that he is included in this climactic mission, asks which guns to grab.

No guns. We need a plan.

That’s the Chuck Bartowski we know. The one we’ve been missing lately.

The Tron Poster goes mural. Everybody smiling now? Yeah, me too. Wonder if Sarah will appreciate the new decor. Meh, she won’t care. She’ll have a new ring to admire, once they come up for air. Ah, where were we? Oh, yeah, the plan …

The legacy lives, and so does the man. Volkoff’s computer tells him so. What is it with the Bartowski men? They just won’t die. Poor Volkoff. What a great scene. Paranoid Volkoff was hilarious. Is there no bottom to Timothy Dalton’s depths. Apparently not. Ooo, goosebumps and chills when Orion’s name filled the screen. I knew it had to be Chuck, but it still had my heart pounding. Way to go, Agent Bartowski. His plan worked like itching powder. Volkoff sends his goon Armand to find Orion (good luck with that), while he hightails it with Frost and Walker to hide behind the skirts of a woman … the Contessa.

Meanwhile, back at the Buymore, Captain Awesome enlists Chuck’s musical help to ease the deep terrors eating away at him from the inside. Whoa. The Captain Awesome that wasn’t. Chuck’s serenity is once again disturbed by his sister’s personal life. TMI on the vitamin pills, Bro. Loved Chuck’s reaction. Brain bleach anyone?

Next up, bathroom interrogation 101. Get the right guy. Ronnie Eimacher, aptly named, provides another piece of the puzzle; and the good guys are off to visit the steel maiden and get Hydra, or something like that.

The Contessa. Why not the Tsarina, I don’t know, except that Contessa has a more alluring ring to it. The floating fortress of fun: anti aircraft missiles, sonar stealth, and an old fashioned ice cream parlor. What’s not to love. Too bad Sarah didn’t think to book ahead for the honeymoon. Perhaps as part of his rehab, Alexei can get a job with Holland America. Whatever has happened on her decks before, she is now the stage for some of my favorite scenes.

Chuck makes a great Seal. Morgan, trapped in his wet-suit, makes a convincing frogman. Nuff said.

The Mary/Sarah Mother/Daughter(in-law) moment packs a lot into 25 seconds.

MamaB: We’re as close as we’re ever going to get. Tonight, whether or not we find the Hydra, you’re going home. Twenty long years boil down to this one opportunity. If not tonight, never. Sobering thought.
Sarah: What do you mean? No, I can’t. I promised Chuck that I wouldn’t come home without you. Sarah is loyal to Chuck and her promise to him. She has to do this for him.
MamaB: Yes, I made a lot of promises, too. I don’t want you to become me. And I will not allow my son to become his father. So, tonight it ends.

These two women are like facing mirrors, whose reflections in each other are unending. Mary sees so much of herself in Sarah. How could she not?

Sarah sees a lot of herself (her old self) in Mary. Up until this point, Sarah has understood the side of Mary that Chuck had no way to understand. Sarah understands Mary the spy who got in too deep and has been trapped in a living hell for 20 years. Now, for the first time, Sarah meets the woman Chuck knew. Sarah sees Mary as a woman who loved her husband and family, a woman who lives with regrets. She sees a woman who cares about her, like a mother (something she hasn’t had in a long time), a woman who loves her son. The person Mary used to be is the person Sarah has become with Chuck. That Mary is still in there, and tonight she comes to life again.

Huge epiphany for Sarah. She is trying so hard to help Chuck in the matters dearest to his heart. She wants to ease his worries over his family. She wants to give him back his mom. She will do anything for this man that she loves with a love she’s never known before. Anything. She just doesn’t always see the big picture. Tonight she gets it. What would be worse for Chuck than not getting his mom back? … Not getting Sarah back and turning into his father. Powerful scene.

A shipboard reunion under a night sky might be really romantic, if the cruise director weren’t a psycho arms dealer and the crew armed with machine guns. Way to kill the mood. Chuck’s face was perfect and the reunion sweet, if brief. Both women try to send Chuck back to safety, but he will have none of it. Hurray, for Charles Carmichael Orion Bartowski. It’s going to be OK. Chuck has a plan.

Now it’s Mary’s turn to meet the son that Sarah knows, including the one with an aversion to bullets. Loved the mother/son confrontation over the use of firearms. Guess which one was the parent? The look on Mary’s face is pure gold. I see fun ahead for the Bartowski family.

The Morgan laser scene was funny, especially the facial expressions from Sarah and Mary (who actually pats Morgan … well, where only a best friend’s mother can, as she passes his half naked body on her way into the server room). Sarah giving her coat to Morgan was sweet and in keeping with their growing best-friend-in-law relationship.

Chuck uploads Orion’s virus into Hydra, just before Volkoff and his men show up for the party. More machine guns! Have they no manners? Mary shines as she holds a gun to Volkoff’s head so her family can escape. That must have felt good. Wonder how long she has wanted to do that? What follows is a revelation that clears up some things we’ve wondered about ever since Mary stepped back into Chuck’s life. And, wow, is it good. Frankly it’s better than a detailed description of why the mission took 20 years.

Dashed hopes, fear of the awakened monster, and the message from her dead husband push Mary Bartowski to the breaking point. She will probably die soon, so she may as well get something off her chest … the truth.

You want the truth, Alexei? The truth is my husband, alive or dead, will always be 10 times the man you are. And every moment that I was with you, I was thinking of him.

Volkoff reaches a new level of boiling rage and bone chilling creepiness as he caresses her and kisses her, promising to return with her husband’s body. Anyone still think Mary stayed all those years because she relaxed into the mission or enjoyed the perks and the power, and didn’t particularly care if she left? Didn’t think so.

Destiny

Chuck steps into Orion’s shoes and legacy becomes destiny.

“Orion” sitting in the chair and Volkoff’s smug greeting. Tense. Chuck’s return greeting, the same one Volkoff gave him in Orion’s other base … awesome.

For me this is Chuck’s finest hero moment. The plan was brilliant, tailor-made for the enemy, and worthy of the legacy it honored. The execution was perfectly played, all without flashing. Fantastic.

The speech along with the inter-cut scenes was perfect. As the plan unfolds, we see just how brilliant it was. I love that Chuck used the virus his dad created and that he gave Stephen J. Bartowski the credit for Volkoff’s ultimate defeat. Volkoff’s utter shock was cheer worthy, as he realized he had been outwitted. The empty gun … check. Smug to the end, Volkoff trumpets his certain victory. Knock, knock. Who’s there? General Beckman and her army at your service … check mate. The general’s congratulations were nice, but news of Sarah and MamaB’s safety was all Chuck wanted to hear. Sweet relief.

My favorite part of the sequence, and possibly a series favorite, is the line, “Fight for your family,” followed by Sarah’s rescue of Mary. Sarah stayed on the ship to fight for her family. “Mary, quick,” the bond has deepened. Though brief, it was a great fight scene, uber moves with bullets flying. Plus I always love it when Sarah starts throwing knives. Wonderful moment as Sarah and Mary leave hell behind. I still haven’t figured out how they got off the ship. … I just know it wasn’t public transportation.

Family

We end up back at the hospital. It’s still about family, and the family moments have never been better.

Who doesn’t want to cheer when Chuck and his mom and Sarah exit the elevator? (Who doesn’t want to cheer that Sarah lost the black wig!) Chuck united his family, but he couldn’t have done it without Sarah, or even Morgan for that matter. Can it get any better than this? … Yes.

Sarah’s first glimpse of Casey, “John. I’m sorry. I, I didn’t mean t …” His reply lets her know everything is fine between them.

The family gathering in the hallway is hallmark Chuck. I love the “yes” chorus, when the nurse asks if they are all family. Everyone looked to Chuck to make the decision. He has more than earned his place as head of this family. His choice was appropriate. He brought Ellie her father for her wedding and her mother for the birth of her first child. Can it get any better than this? … Yes.

Mary’s entrance and Ellie’s smile, “You came,” … another among so many priceless moments from Push Mix. Mary’s reply, “We all did,” speaks of her restoration. She belongs to a family again, a family who have forgiven her, understood her, loved her, and fought for her, to bring her back. Now she is present to celebrate new life, the birth of her daughter’s daughter. Can it get any better than this? … Yes.

Casey, Morgan, and Alex ride off into the sunset together. OK, they role into the fluorescent glow of a hospital corridor. The sunset sounded better. Whatever, it was still sweet.

The glimpses of Chuck and Sarah in the hallway betray an intimacy in companionable silence and in the pleasure of nearness and holding hands, things they’ve missed for too long. There will be time later for conversation and catching up, but for now it’s enough just to be together. Well, almost.

Chuck may not need the perfect moment or the perfect spot, but I think he found it. No hand wringing, no butterflies, no surveillance … just them.

Can it get any better than this?

Yes.

Bottom Line

The Push Mix concludes an arc that I like at least as well, maybe better than any on Chuck. Sarah’s sacrificial mission became the first domino in taking down Volkoff and freeing Mary. Did Sarah do it alone. No. But without the courage of her love, it wouldn’t have happened at all.

I hinted at a binary solution to the 20 year Volkoff problem. Turns out the solution was Mary plus TeamB. We’re better as a team, a favorite Chuck theme, was never more true. It took all of TeamB, including Mary, to do what the government couldn’t do in 20 years. Mary, cut off from everyone, couldn’t find Hydra and bring down Volkoff. GB confirms that the CIA had been looking for Hydra for 20 years, without success. I can cut Mary a little slack and accept the answers we got, gaps and all, especially in light of what we learned about Mary, herself.

Maybe it’s just me, but I think Chuck is getting a better handle on his destiny. Guess what? It all comes back to family.

I was never going to kill you Alexei. After all I am my father’s son, aren’t I?

Chuck already embraced his destiny, as hero and spy. He is good at both. But it was more like he was trying to fulfill his destiny as someone else. Finally, in this episode, Chuck takes hold of his legacy and steps into his destiny. For the first time, it seems, he doesn’t want to step into a role or an archetype. He steps into his own skin, without apology, to be the man he was meant to be, with his unique gifts and talents. To pursue his destiny, he can’t be someone else. He has to be Chuck Bartowski. Charles Carmichael Orion Bartowski. I expect to see more of this Chuck from here on out.

Parting Thoughts

Small gripes. The laser gauntlet was longer than necessary. I would rather have seen Sarah’s reunion with Casey, something much more significant to the story. I would have liked to see the proposal a little better. The choice to do it where, when, and how they did was great, but it felt a wee bit far away and faded a tad too quickly. Don’t get me wrong; I loved it. But for one of the most epic moments of the series, I would have liked to see it a little closer (just a meter or two) and a little longer.

Once again the whole cast was superb. Zach was never better. Linda Hamilton absolutely nailed everything, a lot of range for her in Push Mix. Timothy Dalton outdid himself; he is just amazing. Yvonne was great as always. Casey, Morgan, Alex, Devon, and Ellie all did such a great job! Congratulations on a job well done. The Buymore was back to its funnier self, and Jeff and Lester were back to a humorous level of creepy.

Thinkling’s thoughts

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About thinkling

In my [younger] youth, I was a math teacher, basketball coach, and computer programmer. In 1984, we moved to Brazil, where we serve as missionaries. I like to design things and build things, read things and write things. We now live part-time in Brazil, part-time in the US. Love them both. Wife, 37 yrs; mom, 30 yrs. I am blessed.
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246 Responses to Push Mix Delivers

  1. atcDave says:

    Excellent recap Thinkling, thanks. It is great to be reminded of why this episode was excellent on so many levels.
    I do have to mention Jeffster. I’ve been critical of them several times this season, I’m not a huge fan. But their performance here was the best ever, I think its the only time I laughed loud and hard at their antics. I could be quite happy with their contribution if it was like Push Mix, and say only every other episode!
    But it was so perfect here, it was the transition from the excitement and drama of the “A” plot, to a denouement we were all ready to see. It was a joyful moment to just laugh at their idiocy.

    • thinkling says:

      I agree. They pry very few laughs from me, but if the Buymorons could be like this and Gobbler every time, I wouldn’t mind at all. In fact I might enjoy it. But only every other week. Let’s don’t push it. 🙂

      • armySFC says:

        agreed. the thing i disliked about it was the placement. it broke up the very emotional scenes taking place. other than than that i agree they were fine.

      • thinkling says:

        True, enough. The only one that really bothered me was the interruption of Sarah’s reunion with Casey.

    • Rick Holy says:

      Agree. A Sarah/Casey (“John,” in Sarah’s words) hug would have been nice – and it was so obviously/awkwardly interrupted. Not the best editing job there. Jeffster WAS funny. And as has already been noted, I LOVED Ellie’s reaction, “OH GOD!” Actually, the funniest part was their entrance into the hospital. Lester’s almost revulsion of “EEEEW, Pregnant women!” Jeff, on the other hand, “OOOOOOOH, Pregnant women!” Reminded me of the one episode where Jeff got the short end of the stick of having to wait on the middle aged home appliance seeking women at the Buy More – and LIKED it!

      There were so many good parts of this episode. I wish however, that the “fade to black” at the proposal wouldn’t have happened so quickly. I know the way they did it was so “the moment” would be “Chuck and Sarah’s,” giving us really only a peek at it. That was nice. But an etra 10 seconds of actually seeing a facial reaction or two, AND Sarah dropping to her knees to embrace Chuck would have made an almost perfect finish, PERFECT. That “moment” that has been four seasons in the making, and it just faded to black too quickly. Not a major gripe – just a “wish it could have been SLIGHTLY different.”

      I am really looking forward to the upcoming 11 episodes. We’re always on the verge of whatever is “on our plate” regarding CHUCK having the potential to be our “last meal.” So I’m going to enjoy it like it IS a last meal. I keep asking myself, “Should I watch the ratings,” or should I just say, “to heck with it. If we get renewed we get renewed. If we don’t, we don’t.” But, TVBTN knows they’ve “hooked me,” so it’s going to be hard NOT to check them at lunch time on Tuesdays.

      Whatever the future holds, here’s to 11 more episodes!

      • thinkling says:

        Agree with all, Fr. Rick. That fade was too quick.

        I am excited about the next 11 … and still hoping for (at least) 22 more after that. 🙂

      • joe says:

        Oh, we have to give “the kids” some privacy, Thinkling! 😉

      • ChuckNewbie8 says:

        Through the magic of photoshop, I was able to postpone the fade out as much as possible. Enjoy 😀

        Proposal FTW.

      • thinkling says:

        Aww, thanks, Faith.

        Joe, they’re in a hospital. What do you think is gonna happen? We don’t have to follow them to the supply closet. 😉

      • joe says:

        Clearly, in Faith’s hands Photoshop *is* a form of technology sufficiently advanced enough to be indistinguishable from magic.

        @thinkling – 😉

      • atcDave says:

        Agree with all that Rick. I will follow the ratings also; and of course I’m really hoping for an S5, but I’ll enjoy these next 11. I guess it is what it is.

        Thanks for the clip Faith, looks good.

    • joe says:

      Sigh! I just spent another five minutes watching Faith’s video again and again…

      It’s five minutes of my life that I –
      want to have over and over again!

  2. Faith says:

    I too loved the recap Thinkling, you make me want to see it “again and again. And again.” 😀

    Sarah Lancaster is definitely an underrated actor. That scene with “you came” as you mentioned was just…great stuff.

    Ooh, one side note that my shipper heart warmed during: the meet at the Contessa. It’s been a while since Chuck and Sarah have seen each other and it was such a touching kiss and hug. ♥!

    I don’t know if I’d put this at the top of my list but it scores very, very high on replays and that’s always a plus.

    • thinkling says:

      The meet on the ship was a favorite. Chuck’s face lit up and he flew down the steps. Very nice indeed.

    • sd says:

      Great write-up—

      I love the scene outside the hospital room when all chime in about being family. Clearly, we know Casey and–especially Sarah–consider themselves family but to be so vocal from two long-time “non-communicators” was cool.

      I also love how Casey is always there ready to protect Ellie. I think he’s always admired her–she’s smart like Chuck but doesn’t bring the goofy.
      As I mentioned in a post soon after it aired…I think there was subtext to what Ellie said when she talked about family in Casey’s hospital room. Anyone think she knows more–if knows “all” about Chuck and spying?

      While Jeffster reached a highpoint for me during Ellie and Awesome’s wedding and never to be repeated…their “re-imagining” of the Salt N’ Pepa classic was a good time.

      I do wish we saw more from Sarah and Casey “John” …but only so much time on the clock. It looks as if they cutaway…so maybe a deleted scene will be on the S4 disc set.

      • thinkling says:

        I did notice that Ellie seemed a little … terse? in her comments to Chuck. I don’t know if she knows or suspects. I didn’t know what to make of it.

        Yeah, Casey wants to protect Ellie. It is sweet. Casey’s gotten to be such a teddy bear. I wonder if Chuck and Devon ever set her straight about the lies they told about him?

      • andyt says:

        I noticed the same thing. I think Ellie if she doesn’t “know” strongly suspects that Chuck is back in the spy game. Besides how would he be able to get MEB back if not. Ellie now knows that Mom is a spy, so the only logical way that Chuck could reach her would be through that world.

      • thinkling says:

        Hey, Andyt. It would make sense that she would suspect, after the long absences, etc. And who knows if Awesome has been able to act normal, now that he knows.

        Ellie knows that Mom is a spy, but she thinks that Mary is free to come and go, no longer under arrest. As far as we know she doesn’t know Volkoff is evil … just a really funny MI6 charades player.

        So, I think, in Ellie’s mind, Mary could have just come on her own?

        It’ll be interesting to see how all this plays going forward … what MamaB’s story will be. So glad she’s sticking around.

      • andyt says:

        Hey Thinkling, a great write-up on a fantastic episode. After 20 years gone, I doubt Ellie believes that Mom just showed up on her own. Clearly Ellie knows that Chuck contacted her and brought her in. Thus, logically this would lead to the suspicion that he is back spying. Also, Chuck is immediately with Casey when he is injured in the hospital, and he is in his “spy” jacket. I think that she has very strong suspicions which will come out in the back 11.

      • thinkling says:

        You make great points, Andyt. And you’re probably right. Chuck did say that Ellie is half a spy.

        So, how do you think she’s going to process it?

      • andyt says:

        I think that we see from the clipped way she addresses Chuck that she is upset. I think that she will be angry that he lied to her and broke his promise to leave. I would love to see MEB talk to her about Chuck’s strengths and abilities as well as Sarah. I think in the end Chuck just needs to bring the General to a family dinner and have explain that the President wants Chuck as a spy so he is a spy, as per Anniversery.

      • thinkling says:

        Good specs, Andyt. I like all of that. For MamaB to be able to tell Ellie that if it weren’t for Chuck and Sarah, she would still be trapped in a horrible situation.

        I wish someone could tell Ellie that she put Chuck in a no-win situation … she can’t be satisfied. When he was at the Buymore, she rode his case because he was living below his potential. When he finally found fulfillment as a genuine hero, she wasn’t satisfied. Now she is satisfied with him in a job that would make him miserable, if indeed he were really working at the Buymore.

        I wish she could hear what he told Sarah about his dad loving him but not knowing him. … why I became the Intersect, that I can help people; that for the first time in my life what I do actually means something.

        The general coming to dinner would be icing on the cake, but I’d like it to be more subtle … like her coming to present Chuck with a presidential award or an invitation to dinner at the White House. Not that either of those is subtle, but it gets the message across without having to say the words.

        The Ellie thing has become a bit tiresome, and it gets in the way of the warm brother/sister relationship that existed before. I hope they resolve things. But surely with all the family developments …

      • atcDave says:

        Exactly right about what a drag the secrets have been on Chuck/Ellie. Pretty much all of S4 has been off between them. You’d think after the rescue of mom its got to come out somehow.

      • weaselone says:

        It would be nice if Chuck came to realize that even outside of the spy life, what he did meant something to a lot of people. It might not have been saving the world, but he meant quite a bit to the Buymorons and the Buymorons are good, if extremely weird people.

      • thinkling says:

        I think he does realize that, Weaselone. But being a swell guy in a job so far beneath your potential isn’t what I would want for Chuck, or anybody. He can still be a swell guy, living a fulfilled life, employing all of his gifts to help people on a larger scale. They’ve painted him as a guy meant for great things, and his own restlessness at the Buymore confirms a higher calling, for lack of a better word.

      • jason says:

        given we only have one arc left for sure, I could think of no better way to spend it, than telling us all a story about Chuck and Sarah coming to terms with the public and private nature of the way they will gain employment for the rest of their lives.

        Ratings for the next 2-3 episodes are going to be real interesting, my theory is 14 will be right back to 1.9 – 2.0 as fans again are reassured that S3’s darkness will not be repeated, and will continue around that mark, until the show either goes dark again, or until DLST and the NBA playoffs hit. I would assume if something caused fans to suddenly stop liking the show, it will slowly sink toward 1.5 in the next 3 weeks, and the show will either get moved or get canceled. I’m going with Option A for now, but the point remains, the next few weeks are important, that is something that cannot be swept under the rug!!!!!

    • jason says:

      One of the tests for my top 3, top 5 is how often I want to watch an ep, so far, the pilot, delorean, and honeymooners are the list. This ep already has 4 watches from me, which is a fair amount & will beat out phase 3 & maybe the pilot, does not matter, by the end of season 4, I will probably just expand the list to a top 10. How many times have I watched the Honeymooners, a fair ?, well, some things are best left unsaid, an electric floor scrubber and a picture proved they can more than do the job.

  3. armySFC says:

    very nice write up. you covered all the highlights. i have one point that i disagree with. this, “Tonight she gets it. What would be worse for Chuck than not getting his mom back? … Not getting Sarah back and turning into his father. Powerful scene.”
    this happens on the deck of the ship prior to seeing chuck.

    what happens later after she sees chuck, “she’s right,this is my mission, and it’s to dangerous” telling him basically to leave. then we have this in the server room. “ok chuck, you and morgan need to get out of here right now” again attempting to make chuck leave. mary says, “you all need to get of here…” sarah then says “no not with out you” again wanting to stay behind. finally chuck says “we”re all leaving.” maybe you see something i don’t, but to me she still doesn’t get it. these lines prove it to me.

    • thinkling says:

      You have a point, Army. I did think about that. Sarah and Chuck will always try to protect each other. So, yeah, another step backwards.

      • armySFC says:

        thinkling. i agree with them always helping each other and that’s what makes them strong as a team. if push mix did nothing else it proved again that chuck and sarah work best as a team. they just compliment each other so well. i’m just waiting for the day when sarah is asked to go solo, and her response is “not without chuck and my team.” when this happens i will be the first to admit she gets it.

      • thinkling says:

        I’ll be in the cheering section on that one, too!

      • JC says:

        I think they wanted a definite declaration on Mary’s part that her mission wasn’t worth what it cost her and ended up hurting the people she loved. The problem was it came at the expense of Sarah’s growth.

      • atcDave says:

        I think JC is exactly right. They were trying highlight Mary’s redemption moment; but it was at the expense of Sarah.

        I don’t think its a huge issue. But I will like it a lot if Sarah ever turns away from duty for Chuck/family.

      • JC says:

        I don’t think it was a huge issue but I do see it as part of a larger problem in how the show is written. Its about accountability and the double standard on the show. I know I’m in the minority here with that opinion so it might not bother people as much.

        Plus it made the whole ending to Gobbler completely pointless.

      • atcDave says:

        The more I think about it, the more I see why they likely decided it wasn’t a big issue. Just looking at the words I typed above. Sarah has many times chosen Chuck over duty. Her issue is that she undervalues herself, and assumes getting mom back is the biggest issue for Chuck; so that’s exactly what she’s going to do.

        In a nutshell, she’s not struggling with any deep matter of morality; its a matter of which good thing she’s going to do. And Sarah is wired for doing great things, not going home quietly with her family.
        The only better solution is to do everything as a team, no lone wolf stuff.

      • thinkling says:

        Totally agree, Dave.

      • JC says:

        @Dave

        I’m not questioning her motivations or the morality of the situation.

        To me the show holds Chuck to a higher standard than other characters. He has to explain and apologize for almost everything he does whether it was right or wrong. If this storyline had been reversed with Chuck declining the call, do you think it would be swept under the rug? That’s where I have issue with the show.

      • atcDave says:

        Actually JC in some ways it is. They’ve still not really dealt with Chuck’s motives for coming back, apart from finding mom. We’re left to do the same thing I just was saying about Sarah, that is, trying to divine motives from very little data. We can guess he didn’t like being left out, or watching Sarah run off on missions without him, or that he felt like he’d abandoned his calling; but we’ve heard nothing of his desire to help people or “be the guy” or any such thing since he came back.

        I think we may be trying to require something of the show that it just isn’t. The show is a lot of fun and explores likable and eccentric characters and their relationships in ways that are often satisfying. But if we start requiring it to address deeper values and morals I think we’re setting ourselves up for disappointment.
        In spite of that, I bet some of those issues will be addressed in the coming weeks anyway. I remember well in S3 we had many of these discussions about which character was being held to a higher standard. I think the final answer is none in particular. Our expectations will always be a little different for Chuck than they are for Sarah; but I don’t think those expectations equate to higher or lower. We expect more bravery from Sarah, we expect more sensitivity from Chuck. Each character will get its turn and take their knocks; but in the end I think both main characters (and many of the secondary characters too) are treated fairly.
        I do know you’re speaking more about how the characters are written in the show than our perceptions, and that is what I was thinking of when I wrote that response. On reread I realize it doesn’t always sound like it, but I was thinking of how the written characters are perceived by us. Since I’m not one of the show writers I don’t know how else to frame it other than how we see it. Sorry if that doesn’t help!

      • JC says:

        I understand what you’re getting at and I do think some of is it based on how the writers want us to perceive the characters. So when Chuck doesn’t question someone motives or get angry were expected to understand that. But what I think gets lost is we’re not always going to buy into that notion especially when they cross certain lines. S3 was the biggest offender but there’s been others and not just with Sarah. Ellie, Morgan, Awesome and Orion all have gotten away with the “Do as I say not as I do” attitude with Chuck.

        So when the show has Chuck just sit back and take it or not call out other characters it stretches the believability to me. Maybe if they weren’t so blatant about it but the whole distance thing being swept under the rug just highlighted it my eyes.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        JC

        Issues in Chuck are no longer swept under the rug. There’s a new way of deal with hanging threads and plot lines – VACUUM FTW!!

    • Tamara Burks says:

      There’s another possible motive behind Sarah’s drive to save Mama B and that’s the death of Papa B.

      She killed Shaw’s wife (under orders sure and who knew what Graham’s motives were) and that’s why he turned after he was shown the video, She enabled Shaw at every turn even after he blatantly manipulated her,she was the reason he rescued Shaw in his ridiculous suicide mission (which might give him guilt over his father’s death) , she went with Shaw after she knew she killed his wife resulting in Chuck having what he thought was his first kill and he had nightmares over that, she had a chance to take Shaw out when she had a gun on him in the CIA building and didn’t (i don’t see why she couldn’t have at least shot him in the knee) and then he killed Chuck’s father possibly because Chuck had thwarted him and his ego couldn’t handle being thwarted. Sarah certainly didn’t thwart him , she walked with him arm in arm to her own execution.Not to mention she gave Shaw what she denied Chuck for so long, personal info and personal access.

      It would be odd if there wasn’t any guilt perculating around in her head even if it’s just in her subconcious. Lack of even subconcious guilt would demonstrate an extreme lack of awareness of cause and effect which if she doesn’t have this awareness then her upbringing and her training could be to blame.

      • thinkling says:

        You know, you keep saying this, Tamara, but I just don’t buy it. No one but Shaw was guilty for what Shaw did. People are responsible for their own actions. There’s no such thing as collective guilt, and it doesn’t take a village to kill someone.

        People’s circumstances, even unfair ones, like the death of a loved one at the hands of another, don’t dictate or cause their actions. The law of cause and effect breaks down at the point of free will. No one pulled Shaw’s strings. He decided his own path, choice by choice.

        Shaw didn’t “turn” after the video. He had already turned, many years earlier, from justice to vengeance. He was on the auction block, for sale to anybody who could point him to his wife’s killer.

        A loose cannon, driven by revenge and with nothing to lose, he played the role of a great spy and used the CIA as cover for his mission of vengeance.

        The most obvious illustration of my point is the difference between Chuck and Shaw. Both of them had people they loved murdered. Chuck witnessed his father’s murder. It was fresh in his mind. It was cold-blooded and totally unprovoked. When Chuck had the chance to avenge his father’s death, he chose justice over vengeance. Shaw chose a path of revenge. That choice and all of Shaw’s subsequent choices led to the attempt on Sarah’s life and the murder of Stephen Bartowski. Shaw alone bears the guilt of those actions.

        Making excuses for Shaw and placing the blame for his actions at Sarah’s feet hits me a little like blaming a battered wife for the abuse of her husband. If Sarah had known that Shaw was manipulating and deceiving her, a) it wouldn’t have been manipulation or deception; and b) she wouldn’t have accompanied him to Paris. … Poor Shaw.

        Sarah’s going with Shaw was a mission, assigned to her based on everyone’s belief that Shaw only wanted to take down the Ring. She was doing her job.

        Chuck’s nightmares about Shaw, along with all the other bizarre nightmares, were attributed to the Intersect’s effect on his brain. Does that mean Sarah was also to blame for the Zimibia dreams? The point to the Shaw dream was that it was telling Chuck that Shaw was still alive. There was never any link to guilt.

        Chuck’s former rescue of Shaw was the right thing to do. The fact that Shaw later killed Chuck’s father doesn’t change that. Shaw’s later evil does not undo Chuck’s good. Nor does it turn Sarah’s doing her job in Paris into enabling a killer. Nor does it mean that she should have taken Shaw out in the CIA building. That would have made her no better than Shaw.

        Shaw was bent on revenge. If Sarah hadn’t gone with him to Paris, he would have still gone after her. He wouldn’t have stopped until he killed her or someone stopped him. Chuck would still have protected her by any means necessary. And still, none of that would have had anything to do with Stephen Bartowski’s death.

        To me it’s more odd to assign blame where there isn’t any.

      • atcDave says:

        Don’t mince words Thinkling, what do you really think? (!) Great defense of Sarah. I would believe that Sarah might still blame herself a little for what happened (I believe that is even consistent with your battered wife analogy); but I agree the ultimate fault is Shaw’s alone.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I didn’t read Tamara as excusing Shaw or thinking Sarah would hold herself responsible for Shaw’s actions, I thought it was more along the lines of Sarah wishing she’d trusted Chuck more and Shaw less and feeling if she had she might have done things differently or might have stopped Shaw sooner.

        But frankly when it comes to Shaw, the character just plain didn’t work. Possibly flawed concept certainly flawed in execution. There is no way to keep Sarah a sympathetic character with him in the mix.

      • uplink2 says:

        Excellent point Ernie. The worst thing about Shaw wasn’t necessarily what he did but what Sarah had to do to somehow explain why she got involved with him. He damaged her character more than anything else. The basic concept of him being a natural fit for her and her “type” is ridiculous when you see that she is shown horrified that she thinks she has turned Chuck into the exact same guy. If that was her “type” why wouldn’t she relish the idea? It made her look stupid, confused and nothing like what we knew her as.
        Couple that with their big super duper, game-changing reveal of the motives behind the entire story arc falling as flat as the Bonneville Salt flats, Sarah killed Eve Shaw, and you had the disaster we had. By the point of that big reveal most people wished she had shot him instead and had absolutely no sympathy for him or his story. The entire justification for the Shaw character no one was interested in. No one cared about and it only added to the frustration with the season.

      • weaselone says:

        I think they could have pulled off Sarah hooking up with Shaw if they had handled the estrangement between Chuck and Sarah and Shaw’s subsequent courtship better. They would also would have needed to make Shaw seem half way competent. As it was the relationship was understandable than Chuck’s relationship with Hannah and she wasn’t around nearly as long.

      • weaselone says:

        That should read “was less understandable”

      • JC says:

        Without dragging this down, people are forgetting Sarah’s words to Chuck in Final Exam about the Red Test. You have a choice. She made hers when she pulled the trigger and in the end Chuck’s family and Shaw bore the repercussions of it not her. And lets not forget she ignored Chuck’s warnings in Other Guy about Shaw being emotional swiss cheese. But it doesn’t matter because like Mary as Volkoff’s enforcer they never even considered these things when writing the story.

      • atcDave says:

        Good comments Uplink; while many efforts have been made to rationalize it, the whole idea of Sarah hating what she turned Chuck into, so she turns her attention to the primary instrument of that change completely fails on an intuitive level.

      • JC says:

        We also to remember that a lot of the times the writers seem to get tunnel vision of sorts. They expect the fans will just accept their rationalizations for character motivations and not even consider other ones. Or they don’t realize how a current story may effect a previous arc or one down the line.

      • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

        Ooh, Shaw bashing, I want in.

        Let’s just face it. There is absolutely no alternate universe anywhere where THAT Shaw is THE guys for Sarah.

        As far as Sarah’s character through the misery arc, she didn’t have any.

      • uplink2 says:

        I would question what Sarah did in Final Exam based on she didn’t give Chuck a choice at all. She put him in a Catch 22 that there was no way out of other than what ultimately happened. She told him that if he didn’t complete the test he would not become a spy and they probably couldn’t be together but if he did complete the test then he had changed so much that she couldn’t be in love with him anymore. He had no option that allowed him to be with her and being a spy without her was something he couldn’t do either. It was manipuulating the audience and the characters to create melodrama and not honest drama.

        So in my mind she gave him no choice that gave him what he wanted and he fumbled to the only way he could. And what makes it worse is that Shaw was the one manipulating all of it. He knew exactly what he was doing that making Chuck pass his Red test would be the final thing needed to break her love for Chuck so he could have her. It was devious, slimy and another example of why he was a scumbag.

      • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

        Tamara,

        I don’t see Sarah motivations for going after Mama B as having anything to do with anything other than Chuck. Although rather poorly explained and left to intepretation and then later poorly resolved I think it was all S4 based.

        Ernie’s point about Sarah wishing she had trusted Chuck more (in S3), basically speaks for most of the fandom wishing she had done the same.

        To this end, I tend to agree with JC when he says Sarah get a “free pass”, compared to Chuck on most of her emotional screw ups. Yes, Chuck hurt Sarah in Prague, he most of S3 paying for that. But Sarah hurt Chuck just as much in S3, yet all we got is Chuck big forgiving heart solving all her missteps. This situation is somewhat improved in S4 as Sarah has apologized once or twice for various things.

        As someone told me once, “Don’t blame Sarah, she’s only written that way”.

      • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

        @uplink2 – There was discussion earlier about vs. the Seduction where Sarah uses Chuck’s affection for her to get him to flash on Roan whereabouts. I saw it, but it never bothered me at the time.

        Final Exam is another example of this. I’m sure they “meant” to show Sarah only giving Chuck what he wants (to be a spy), even if she doesn’t. But since Shaw was hanging around, it comes off as her “seducing” Chuck into his Red Test with a no win scenario. As I’ve said before the LI’s added an extra element to the story that detracted or even changed the concept of the story they were trying to tell, and not in a good way for the Sarah character.

        BTW, I think you’re giving Shaw too much credit. There’s no way he could scheme himself out of a paper bag.

        If anything S4 has shown us that Sarah can indeed think for herself, and for this I am a happy camper.

      • uplink2 says:

        Joseph, where I disagree with you on the Shaw thing is that if he wasn’t manipulating things to finally push Chuck out of the picture for him then why didn’t HE give the order? He was their superior and could easily have told him about the Red Test. Instead he manipulated Sarah to force her to confront her feelings for duty and for Chuck and put Chuck into a no-win scenario so that he would end up with Sarah. In the end he even asks her if she was still in love with him. What honorable man would be in the bedroom of a woman who was obviously in love with someone else unless he planned it to end that way? He then takes her to his penthouse for the day knowing full well that Chuck was in DC. All part of his devious and sleezy plan.

      • weaselone says:

        The idea of a red test is in and off itself a concept that would be laughable if it weren’t so abhorrent. It seems rather ludicrous that there are sufficient people around that so unambiguously merit a bullet to the head or the equivalent so as to serve as the final test for CIA and presumably NSA field agents. Even then capture for interrogation and or would probably be a better choice than straight execution. The only two red tests we were provided were Sarah and Chuck’s and both of their targets would probably have been more useful brought in alive.

      • thinkling says:

        I agree, Weaselone. The red test was a bad concept, poorly executed, and way too dark for a show like Chuck (if you let yourself think about it at all). To make matters worse, the whole season (3.0) ended up hanging on it.

      • atcDave says:

        Excellent comments Weaselone and Thinkling. The whole idea is so grotesque I hate to even dwell on it.
        The show should never have gone so dark and no one involved (characters or show runners!) looks good for it.

      • Joseph (can't be Joe) says:

        @uplink (again) – BTW I’m not picking on you.

        Firstly I agree with you that Shaw basically came off as your friendly neighborhood sexual predator. The thing is that I don’t think he was manipulating anything.

        I had a discussion before 3.18/3.19 with other where I said that the only way to essentially salvage the first 13 was to have Shaw admit that he was manipulating everyone and everything. Think about it, Sarah is suddenly a victim of some grand scheme (she just looks a little dense, but maybe not as much). Chuck is being used as a means to an end. And Shaw (as much as it pains me to say it) makes the transition to decent despicable baddie. Everyone becomes somewhat redeemed if manipulation was in fact happening.

        But we never got manipulative Shaw. We get a questionable interrogation scene and a “Daniel” from Sarah. So Sarah remains stuck in her teenage years, Chuck has to become a dink before cluing in, and Shaw is a useless character that wore out his welcome, who doesn’t make as good of a bad guy as everyone says.

        Enough Shaw already (I speak for myself). TPTB have chosen wisely never to mention him again, and perhaps I should also.

      • atcDave says:

        Joseph I think this is a topic that will never go away, and never be settled. Many of require an explanation that makes sense; but since one isn’t forthcoming (and likely never will be), it will simply never be settled in our brains. If the show runs 20 seasons, s3 and Shaw will still be remembered as something that was hurtful and damaging to our affection for the show and characters.

        I’d like to just let it go. Remember Spock telling the identical androids that he loved one but hated the other? Its the same sort of total disconnect to me; I want to make sense of it but I’m stuck in an impossible trap.

      • uplink2 says:

        Joseph, I can see your point but I found him to be very manipulative of Sarah for his own sexual jollies. Certainly there was no bond like Fedak tried to say. He said that both Shaw and Sarah had lost someone they loved, Eve and Bryce but the problem with that is we found out about Eve’s story long after anyone cared about her or Shaw and to the audience the loss of Bryce for Sarah was never a real big thing except at the original cemetery scene. She had moved on from him long before Ring 1 and her bigger loss was the loss of Chuck that Shaw was a part of.

        When some of the season 3 fans start with the “Shaw was a great villain” stuff again I’m just going to ask them to look at the climactic scene of his entire story, the take down scene in his office, and then look at the scene in the cabin with Volkoff and tell me what your criteria is for being a great villain. The difference in the performances of Routh and Dalton is simply mind boggling. There is no fire, no depth, no evil in the man that has just found out that his boss had his wife killed and had his new girlfriend do it. You don’t even feel the vengeance he should have been filled with. The delivery of the “Did you really think I would be ok with that?” line was simply dreadful. Let alone his pitiful performance at the table. IMO it is Routh’s weakest scene of a very poor performance for his entire arc and it came at what should have been his most important moment. The only thing he did well was the look through the door of the subway car. One decent look out of what 9 episodes. Then look at Dalton in the cabin. The psychopathic evil just is pouring off of him. He is terrifying and is completely delightful at the same time. There wasn’t a bad scene with him his entire time. So how you can compare them and still call Shaw a great villain is beyond me.

      • uplink2 says:

        Its late and I really need an edit button. The Cafe scene not the office scene. Once we get to Volkoff’s return scene we can compare those as well and I bet it will be even a bigger difference as that scene from Routh was god awful as well.

      • atcDave says:

        So Uplink apparently isn’t a huge fan of the two-by-four!

        I don’t want to try to defend his performance; but what I always want to point out here is that I don’t believe who they cast for the part made the slightest bit of difference. It could have been Brandon Routh, Matt Damon, or Don Knotts; makes no difference at all. The part was fatally flawed at conception, no performance could have saved it.

      • Verkan_Vall says:

        atcDave: Don Knotts????

        Tamara: I think this goes back to the decision by the showrunners to take the show “dark” by deliberately damaging all of the main characters except Morgan. The character they damaged the most was Sarah, although they did such a bang up job damaging everyone that the show wasn’t Chuck any more.

        TPTB messed up Sarah so badly that I could argue that there are at least 3 different Sarah Walker’s in Season 3 and none of them are the Sarah from seasons 1 & 2: zombie, happy and psycho Sarah. (although I LIKE happy sarah).

        When Sarah gives Chuck his red test, she effectively betrays everything her character stood for in seasons 1 and 2. Then in 3.17, we find out that after she did that, after she let herself be used as a tool to kill the thing that she loved best in the person who cares for her most, she went and spent the day in Shaw’s bachelor pad?

        That is a complete betrayal of Self, and that’s obscene.

        I agree with Joseph: the Sarah Walker of seasons 1, 2 and 4 doesn’t exist in the misery arc. Her actions don’t make sense because she’s not there.

        I have to wonder: did something happen to the showrunners to darken their world so badly that they had to put it on screen? Or did they lose someone at the end of Season 2, someone(s) who were able to keep the emotions and the relationships note-perfect?

        Because it didn’t have to be this way, there were many other choices, but the misery arc is what they wanted, and that’s the amoral slop we had rubbed in our faces for 3 months.

        You’re right, Dave. Not even Don could have saved this one.

      • atcDave says:

        its really hard to imagine who looked at those scripts and thought they had done a good thing. But then most of the staff writers promptly left, so perhaps no one was that deluded except perhaps the show runners.

        Was Don Knotts too over the top? I almost said Ernest Borgnine. (my age is showing).

      • uplink2 says:

        Dave, while I agree with you that the Shaw character was poorly conceived and poorly written on many many occasions, I firmly believe that Brandon Routh’s very limited acting skills and un-likability made things much worse at least for me. There isn’t a single episode or complete scene he was in where I went wow, that was good. Now Sarah was damaged by the writers to an absurd level but Yvonne did everything she could to play it the way it was written and deliver whatever it was they were trying to show. Even though I absolutely hate the name reveal scene, Yvonne gives it everything she has especially as she reaches for the gun which may have been viewed as an attempt to sacrifice herself to save Chuck and Shaw. She was brilliant in that moment. Completely lost and desperate.

        If an actor like Jonathan Cake had played the part I believe it would have been received differently. He and Yvonne had obvious chemistry on screen and was a very well executed character. Now it never was going to be received well and may have been more disturbing to big shippers because the relationship would have been seen as actually viable but it would have made for better TV.

        We can agree to disagree but to me some of the hatred for Daniel Shaw lies at the feet of Brandon Routh and his piece of plywood acting skillset.

      • atcDave says:

        I guess I’m indifferent towards Routh largely because most of the casual viewers I know had already quit watching before he showed up. One family quit when Sarah threw her phone in the pool in 3.01, and another left before 3.02 even started that same night. So while weak performances and painful plot holes didn’t help things any, I believe the decision to break apart the leads and tell a darker story were the major defects.
        I’ll take that a step further and say I believe if Chuck and Sarah had faced the S3 story as a couple, and Shaw (Routh) had appeared as a mentor/traitor with no romantic angle at all we would have lost far fewer viewers. A darker arc of Chuck entering the spy world (with all of its inconsistencies) still might not have been loved (at least by me), but it likely wouldn’t have been reviled either.

      • thinkling says:

        @Dave: Ernest Borgnine? ROTFL

        @Uplink: I agree about Yvonne’s skill salvaging deplorable writing and situation for her character. The moment you mention in Fake Name is powerful. I like it b/c she is looking at Chuck, not Shaw.

        I’m between you and Dave on the Routh question. Shaw, as written, wasn’t going to fly (no pun intended). But I do think an actor with chemistry with TeamB and Yvonne would have helped. Plus Shaw’s whole approach to Sarah should have been different. So, yeah, if there had been some chemistry with all, it would have made the situation a little less nauseous.

      • thinkling says:

        Agree, Dave, about the mentor traitor thing. That would have worked better.

      • atcDave says:

        I will concede an actor who had actual chemistry with the cast might have cost us fewer viewers. Bonus points if we had clearly seen he was manipulating Sarah to break her away from Chuck.

        But I think the net improvement would have been small. Instead of loosing 2 million viewers we might have only lost 1.8 million. I just know too many people who were thrilled with Colonel and crushed by S3. Even among casual viewers who stuck it out (including one who had to watch because her 4 year old is smitten with Zach) I was hearing comments like “spy Chuck just isn’t much fun” and “we don’t always make time for it on Mondays anymore”.

        Thinkling, I’m glad someone was amused by my choices!

      • joe says:

        Tamara, I’ve been the most vociferous of the bunch, I think, in pointing out that Sarah is not perfect. That’s probably because in reality, I think she is. To think otherwise is a shock for me!

        Well, maybe she’s just short of the level of angels, anyway.

        The idea of her feeling guilty is interesting, because it *is* such a human thing, and it’s easy to go beating yourself up for things you atoned for long ago.

        Even more so, if you put yourself in a parental position, then it’s really easy to say to Sarah “You have nothing to be ashamed of.”

        She doesn’t. Shaw on the other hand…

      • Verkan_Vall says:

        @atcDave:

        Ernest Borgnine!

        But of course, what woman WOULDN’T want Quinten McHale?

        Now how the heck do I get THAT off of my keyboard?

      • thinkling says:

        You can’t, VV, it’s in there forever. 😉

      • atcDave says:

        Watch for Key Board Bleach, coming soon from the makers of Brain Bleach…

      • thinkling says:

        Make a note Alladins. Set up a meet with R&D this week to set up a production schedule for keyboard bleach.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Thinkling – No worries. I am on it. 🙂 But I really hope we don’t have give royalty to Dave for suggesting the idea? 😦

      • thinkling says:

        Given some of Dave’s recent typos, I think we can pay him in product.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Thinkling – I am more worried that Dave is going to sue us for damages (typos) that he may claim were caused by (excessive)
        use of brain bleach. And here you are thinking of paying him in product. 🙂

      • thinkling says:

        Brilliant, no? He can sue. We pay in product, which he uses, and it deletes the suit. It’s a perfect plan.

      • atcDave says:

        I would accept a lifetime supply of product, even it does shorten said lifetime…

      • thinkling says:

        No, it lengthens the lifetime. It shortens the memory of said lifetime.

      • Verkan_Vall says:

        To: Chuckthisblog Sales
        From: Verkan Vall, Esq.

        I would like to place an bleach order, to wit:

        Brain bleach, 50 gallon drum, quantity – 2
        Please include funnel
        Preorder –
        Keyboard bleach, 50 gallon drum, quantity – 3
        Please include my free CTB mop

        Sincerely,

        Verkan_Vall

      • Tamara Burks says:

        One I didn’t say that Shaw had no blame . Shaw has a whole aircraft carrier worth of blame (without a ice cream parlor). He was easily turned , he was egotisitcal and hypocritical and seem more interested in getting his ashes hauled and destroying a great team than in actually helping Chuck be an agent like he was suppossed to be doing.

        Sarah however was a massive enabler in that she rewarded him every time he did something scuzzy or screwed up. And given her history being raised as a con artist as well as being a CIA agent , you would think she’d see right through him .

        Some part of Sarah could recognize that she enabled him and if she does that ‘s probably a massive thing for her since she was raised to NOT think of the consequences of her actions and I seriously doubt the CIA would have disabused her of that.

        Verkan_Vall The day in Shaw ‘s apartment didn’t come after the red test , it came after Beard and Tic Tac. Beard in which Shaw tried to blow up Chuck, Morgan and whoever would be collateral damage (possible everyone in the Buy More since Castle was under it) to protect some discs that had shown no importance whatsoever. I’m thinking that the guy with all of the intel in his head however inaccessable at the m0ment is more important than a set of discs with probably outdated info that was stolen from the bad guys in the first place so they already knew what was on it. Then we got Tic Tac with some wonderful bonding and no Shaw . Then than knife to the gut ending. That’s when the receipt pile came into play.

        And while was just doing her job in killing Eve , maybe another thing in her subconcious is the difference between her and Chuck’s red test. Even if Chuck had killed the bad guy , he tried to arrest him first even though he knew the man was a killer. Sarah otoh didn’t know anything about Eve and made no move to arrest her. When she shot her it looked like a panic move a bit. But the what if’s could be going off in her head , what if she had arrested Eve, what would be different then?

  4. Rick Holy says:

    This episode, like 3.13, really seemed to me like it was an “end of the series” episode. And I felt it did a pretty good job at wraping things up. Even with Jeffster. Lester’s statement, “We came here to do what we needed to do – cover song by cover song to restore America’s youth” (or whatever he said that was similar to that). That statement was almost like a wrap up for Jeffster – not just at the hospital – but for Jeffster all together.

    Let’s be honest. It HAS to be hard for the writers to be told at first 13 episodes, then told later, 6, or 9 or 11 more. Yes, I know there is time to adjust, but when every season you have to operate like that, it can’t make things easier. I think they did a nice job “concluding” a lot of things and this would have been a really nice “series ender.”

    Luckily – thankfully – we have 11 more episodes left. And if we’re REALLY lucky, we could even eek out a fifth (and I expect) final season of some sort.

    The thing about it, even if it was to have ended with 4.13 – even with some of the “problems” of previous seasons – that episode really “ended” things well. Now it’s going to have to serve as a transition for 11 (and hopefully MORE next season) episodes. Are the writers up to it. I think so. What I’m hoping is that the show may go less “lengthy story arc” and more stand along or VERY short story arc episode format. I think the Roan episode is a perfect example.

    As far as I’m concerened, Chuck has pretty much completed the “Hero’s Journey” that has been so much discussed. Now he IS the spy. How he HAS the girl. I think the show can shift into a different mode now – and maybe a mode that (even in its fourth season) could possibly draw in a few more new viewers and bring back – as hard as that is – a few old – at least enough to keep the ratings at a steady 1.9/2.0.

    We’ll see. With the “journey” pretty much complete – at least in my book – let’s get on with the “spycapade” CHUCK type episodes that highlight the team in action with all the action, hijinx and laughs that the show is quite capable of producing. I think it’s time. Another loooooong story arc isn’t needed any more – and truthfully, if we’re going to hope to TRY to survive to another season, let’s “roll the dice” and give a different, more “stand along” type episode format a chance.

    Viva la CHUCK!!

    • Rick Holy says:

      I mean “stand alone.” don’t know why it kept coming out “stand along.” And also, it seems like 4.15 is also – if the promo is any indication – another “stand alone” episode – with Carina and Sarah’s old team. For “the viewing masses,” it’s easier to follow and hang with shows that don’t drag you along for story arcs of 13 episodes. These shorter stories I think would be easier to write, would definitely do “CHUCK” justice, and could possibly help us survive. No guarantees, but why not try something new? It’s worth a shot.

      • thinkling says:

        I knew what you meant. I do tend to really like the stand alone episodes. This season there were so many back to back episodes. By that I mean one leading into another to another. That may be a little hard on people. A thread for the season is fine, but when every show leads to the next, I think it raises the frustration levels of most viewers.

      • atcDave says:

        Do you have an auto-correct feature on your computer? I do on my iPad, and it produces some very interesting results sometimes. I’m a weak enough speller I leave it on, but dang I do have to proof read! It makes some very unusual changes sometimes.

      • joe says:

        You type “stand alone” the way I type the word “check” (as in check-mate!) now. I’ve typed Chuck too many times! 😉

    • atcDave says:

      Agreed Rick. It looks like we’re getting a few stand alones next; I’m not sure if they’re planning another big arc or not. But I also hope they mostly play the back part of the season for fun and don’t get all wrapped up in anything else for a while.

      • armySFC says:

        dave, from the interviews i have seen there is another arc starting in 4.16. i don’t know if its consecutive episodes or spread out over a few episodes.

  5. mxpw says:

    She will do anything for this man that she loves with a love she’s never known before. Anything. She just doesn’t always see the big picture. Tonight she gets it. What would be worse for Chuck than not getting his mom back? … Not getting Sarah back and turning into his father. Powerful scene.

    She did? How did Sarah get it? Mary was the one who had to point it out to her. Sarah was content to go merrily along, stuck undercover for however long it might have taken, potentially condemning Chuck to a miserable life. Mary shouldn’t have had to point out to Sarah that if she stayed undercover, she’d turn Chuck into his father. She should have understood that on her own. To me, it just made Sarah seem pretty clueless.

    It was a well done recap, though, and I enjoyed reading it, so thanks for your thoughts.

    • thinkling says:

      I don’t think she saw that side of it before. It’s hard for her to see her own worth to Chuck … that she matters more to him than anyone else. (To be fair, though, it’s equally hard for him to accept how much she loves him for who he is.)

      Should she see it? Moot point, really. She just didn’t look at it that way. So I think it was a light bulb moment, a new perspective that she saw for the first time. Had she realized it on her own, that would have been a plus for Sarah. The fact that MamaB pointed it out was a plus for Mary.

    • jason says:

      think – mxpw – I liked the way the sarah / mary thing went down – sarah has never had family to rely on, a mother to set her back on the right path – even if begrudgingly, sarah listened, how did chuck put it in first fight, I want you to listen to me even if you don’t agree, sarah listened to mary, and later to chuck

      mxpw – I must admit a prejudice, I love sarah the character, and I fell for mary the character this season too (plus I like ellie & alex), what can I say? But sarah and mary worked for me this season, was a highlight in a season full of character highlights.

      • thinkling says:

        That’s what I loved about it, Jason … the mother/daughter feel. Sarah was taking it in. The relationship is good for both of them. Mary has to be grateful for Sarah showing up to try to help her out. The fact she won’t let her get sucked in shows how much she still cares about her family.

      • armySFC says:

        jason you said this, “sarah listened to mary, and later to chuck.” my question is when? see my post above for the examples i give to show she did not. she only left when she had no choice when the lasers filled the hall. she did in fact stay, but only after chuck made a plan. mxpw’s point was “Sarah was content to go merrily along, stuck undercover for however long it might have taken, potentially condemning Chuck to a miserable life.” to that i agree and posted so earlier.

      • jason says:

        army – I felt like she left the room with chuck when he said we all have to leave, I mean, she did leave the room when chuck said we all have to leave, didn’t she? I guess we see what we want to see. Lots of people that the ignore phone thing was a big deal, turns out she contacted beckman shortly there after. We did not see chuck’s plan which included sarah saving mary, but I don’t feel any more wrong for thinking she is with chuck at that point, than anyone may feel for thinking she is rogue without chuck, I mean, she was with chuck and part of his plan, no longer working undercover for volkov, right? I mean, there are times where the show is nearly excruciatingly painful to watch with sarah or chuck senselessly going rogue, 4×13 didn’t feel that way at all, after the first couple of minutes, I loved how much it felt like a team, sarah included.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah Jason, it was more of a heat of the moment thing, Sarah was trying not to leave anyone behind. We don’t know what she would have done if Mary had tried to send her home with the intel had Chuck not shown up. I’m inclined to think she would have listened to reason and left.
        And I loved how Chuck’s revised plan allowed for Sarah to finally rescue Mary.

      • armySFC says:

        jason true she left at that time, but what other choice did she have? she only left when mama b had a gun at volkoffs head, and not before. so yes we all see what we want but this time we both saw the same thing. she has to know at that point the mission she originally went in for was over. there was no way volkoff would entrust anything else to her so she did what she had to do. but we can agree to disagree.

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      For there to be redemption moment for Mary, the writers had to resort to portray Sarah as dumb.. I was kind of hoping that Sarah would be the one who set Mama B straight and a scene at the beginning of the episode which shows Sarah taking matters into her own hands, convincing Mama B and then breaking into Volkoff’s office along with her would have been great.

  6. carolinagirl says:

    I loved your recap and you hit every point that made this the best episode of Chuck ever! I have really enjoyed Linda Hamilton and Timothy Dalton this season and feel they have brought so much to the show. I am so glad they are going to stick around for a few more episodes. Like you, I would like to have seen a little more of the proposal but I think the emotion of the moment just told Chuck it was the right time and it was very sweet. Just as an aside – anyone notice the blooper with Mary’s purse? It changed position from her standing in the hall and walking into the delivery room.

    • thinkling says:

      Glad you liked it, Carolinagirl. I don’t remember seeing your remarks before. Are you new to the blog? In any case, welcome. LH and TD are great. I’m glad they’ll stick around, too. I didn’t notice the blooper. I did think it was odd she acquired a purse in transit, though. I mean, when they were running off the ship, did she say, “Oh, wait, I have to get my purse.” 😉

  7. jason says:

    think – I felt like I was reading my own words reading what you wrote, I was in such agreement, and normally I have something to quibble about with you – just like TPTB did with this arc, you nailed it – Aces to you young lady!!!!!

    • thinkling says:

      Thanks Jason. I’m glad you liked it. Especially glad you liked the arc. You must be feeling better about the season … at least a little, since they didn’t drag out the proposal, right? I’m glad.

      • jason says:

        Yea – for my taste in chuck 4×13 fixed most of what I found distasteful in the season. IMO 4×12 is not a good type of episode for the show, even with 4×13 as a payoff, 4×12 is a microcosm of the mistake of season 3, fortunately, only 1/12th as serious – LOL

      • atcDave says:

        Glad you feel that way Jason! My only beef with 4.12 is the ending, but yeah, 4.13 was awesome all the way around!

      • thinkling says:

        I did see 4.12 as a sort of S3 microcosm, but one that explored the story line without character damage or major angst. So I really liked it for that. I know a lot of folks didn’t see it that way, though.

        I’m over the moon with 4.13. I hope it gets more views during the week.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah I’m pretty happy with 4.13 too. To me it completely erases my concerns after the previous two, and in fact redeems both episodes.

      • thinkling says:

        Yeah, Dave, 11 and 12 were hanging in the balance until we could see how things would go in 13. So, now I can say it was a great arc, including (IMO) 4.12.

  8. kg says:

    A very good episode indeed, but I can’t say it’s one of the best. It was well intended, Chuck was brilliant and I finally got some redemptive material and sincere dialogue in that fashion from Mary B, but for whatever reason in which I can’t fully articulate, as a whole the episode didn’t heartwarm me or grab me as emotionally as so many previous ones have.

    I understand what many of you have so eloquently pointed out. It just didn’t move me as it did most of you or perhaps I had even hoped. Certainly not as much as Phase Three, Balcony, Other Guy and a plethora of shows from season two.

    I appreciated how Frost finally told Volkoff off. I listened admirably as she told Sarah she was going home and the powerful “I don’t want you to be me and I will not allow my son to become his father” line. And while I have to assume she loved her husband and I already knew that Stephen was “ten times the man” Volkoff is prior to her utterance, I just have never gotten a chance to “see” and “feel” the love like I have from watching Chuck and Sarah.

    Mary Bartowski moved up the positive meter several notches in this episode, but still, it appears she was never in contact or working with Steve for those 19-20 years. Now, perhaps that wasn’t entirely her fault, but a fact nonetheless. She never mentioned or asked of him when she returned to Burbank. Never grieved. Only briefly mentioned him in a positive light to Ellie while describing the Mustang rides.

    Anway, I know it was another post but I wanted to say how I agree with Ernie that season three needed to change and I now have more of an appreciation for the season in its entirety. Even the negative stuff. The easy road was never going to work. They are so much better for all of their experiences. They truly are a strong, committed couple and a formidable smaller team within the larger one. They have both certainly proven they would do anything for the other and I don’t see them ever splitting. As agents and post spylife.

    • Tamara Burks says:

      I have this scene in my head of Mama B looking through the picture albums that Ellie looked through earlier in the season (maybe babysitting Clara so the Awesomes can have a break) and when she gets to pictures of Papa B with thier children after she left is when she finally breaks down , the Frosty exterior melts and she starts sobbing (the kind where you’re making strange noises, your nose runs and you have a headache later) and maybe saying things like Oh Stephen , I’m so sorry this was all my fault, and maybe someone finds her (possibly Sarah) and she can’t stop crying because she’s kept so much bottled up for so long.

      • thinkling says:

        I don’t know if we’ll ever get racking sobs from MamaB, but it would be nice to see some more emotion, and Ellie’s memory box would be a great trigger. Good idea, Tamara.

        I was really glad to hear her speech to Volkoff in Push Mix. That was a highlight for me.

  9. joe says:

    Wow – 48 comments before I even get a chance to read the post! You guys are so good.

    I’m haunted by one thought tonight – haunted in a good way, though. Remember Daniel Zott’s song from AngelLivin’ a Lie? I heard it again today, and it brought back the Chuck I agonized over/with. The lyrics go:

    I’m a hell of a guy
    livin’ a hell of a lie.

    Now every time I think of Chuck doing his “Charles Carmichael” bit, it seem like it’s Chuck playing a role. He’s acting, and that carries him from First Date all the way through FOD.

    It seems different now. Volkoff called him Charles and yes, he explicitly took on his father’s mission. Between that and that great scene where he told Frost We have to have a talk about the advantages of tranq guns. Chuck cut those puppet strings the way I was hoping. He’s not acting the role any more.

    • thinkling says:

      That’s what I’m seeing, too, Joe.

      You know how we commented in Balcony that Sarah seemed so comfortable with herself as a real woman in love? I see a similar transformation here with Chuck being comfortable with himself as a spy. He has taken ownership of his legacy, taken charge of his team and his destiny … all as Chuck Bartowski, son of Orion.

      I hope I’m not just seeing things, but if I am, at least I have company. 😉

      • joe says:

        I love that parallel!

        Oh, you have company, all right. I don’t think what we’re seeing in a figment of our imagination at all.

        As hard as it is to believe that the teenage-angst schlock-meister and the doughy joker are capable of it, they’ve tapped into something that contains one heck of a lot of truth. With the help of a lot of talented people, they’ve shown us something of value in a way that’s palatable and even enjoyable. Let’s say, they were ‘inspired’.

        I struggle sometimes to keep my SQUEEs to a softer level of shrill. But I’m convinced there’s a reason for it.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        He has taken ownership of his legacy, taken charge of his team and his destiny … all as Chuck Bartowski, son of Orion.
        I hope I’m not just seeing things, but if I am, at least I have company.

        I so want to be in such esteemed company, but I have learned to temper my hopes. IMHO, the Chuck that we saw in 4×13 has only one way to go – forward. There is no going back/regression/timidness now. The seemingly major insecurities and issues have apparently been resolved to a large extent – he has asserted himself, brought his family together, embarked on a solid life long journey with the woman of his dreams and is a confident and brave spy to boot. Do I trust the writers to maintain this growth and not resort to backtracking when the plot demands? I guess it’s a wait and see approach for me. Here’s hoping for the best in the back 11. 🙂

      • JC says:

        Add another one who hopes Chuck has finally embraced his destiny and life. Like Genie said the timid insecure Chuck should be long gone at this point and please no regression because of the plot. I’m wondering if Vivian will be a way of passing the torch in way. Instead of being protected by others he’s the one who will guide and protect someone in the spy world.

      • thinkling says:

        I agree, Alladins, it seems that a page has been turned, and the only way now is forward. The mishegaas should be left behind, and relationship insecurities should be a thing of the past. I know, I know, they’ll have issues, but insecurity (or triangles, or any of that nonsense) should not be one of them.

        Let’s see the Chuck of 4.13 with the Sarah of 4.11 (well 4.13, too) going forward to do great fun spy things. Just as it was time for the whiny Chuck to grow up after S1, it’s time for the insecurities in Chuck and in the relationship to die a quiet death. Let everybody saddle up in their big people pants and ride off to catch some bad guys.

        We’ll see if TPTB get that, though I am hopeful.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Instead of being protected by others he’s the one who will guide and protect someone in the spy world.

        With Sarah helping him in this endeavor and not getting all uppity when/if he has to burn her(Vivian) 😉

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        And one more thing I hope to see – Chuck finally stops going to Morgan each and every time for relationship advice. And if he really, really feels the need to do so, I hope it’s Ellie that he goes to. Because IMHO, it’s bad mojo to take advice from a guy who eats cereal with a fork. *I may be a little biased here because I have no love lost for Morgan’s extra screen time and out of the blue Yoda qualities – but that’s just me* 🙂

      • JC says:

        @Genie

        Ha, lets hope Vivian does something worse than selling Intersect glasses to the highest bidder.

        Joking aside it’d be great if Sarah is OK with it at first but over the course of the arc Vivian’s flirting ,Chuck’s obliviousness and Casey’s quips make her snap into a jealous rage.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        JC

        Sarah’s possessiveness and attempts at protecting her property (Chuck) are always a delight to watch. What would be hilarious is a situation like this – Vivian accompanies them on a mission, Casey and Sarah are stuck in the van monitoring communications while Chuck goes in with Vivian. I could totally see Sarah inadvertently jeopardizing the mission if Vivian tries to get handsy wih Chuck. Fun times. 🙂

      • jason says:

        I think they are going to play vivian differently than the past, I can’t honestly say I know how, a guess might be she hates chuck and is a B***h to everyone, or likes chuck but does not think he is B/F material, or worships (not as in love) sarah’s life and wants to be a spy & sort of follows sarah around, even though chuck protects her, just something different than what you guys and gals are saying, which, lets face it, is a PLI.

      • thinkling says:

        Me, too, Alladins. Chuck is in a tough spot for male advice, though. Casey has been a good sounding board. Devon could work (but the one time Chuck was desperate, Devon brushed him off), and Ellie would be good for the woman’s POV. His mom could even tell him stuff about his dad. Those could be great conversations with mom.

        He’s had a few good Dr. Morgan moments, but most of them were with Sarah. After all he is the Intersect on Chuck. But even that should be less frequent as Sarah becomes the Intersect on Chuck.

        They’ve painted themselves into a corner. They’ve chosen Morgan as one of the team, and a lot of the time that’s worked well enough. Budget means they can’t have everybody in every episode. The fact that Chuck has to lie to Ellie, this time knowing that he has also broken a promise to her, means he can’t really talk to her. Such a shame, that one. That family dynamic really needs to be restored.

        Morgan has served a role in Sarah’s life that Ellie used to serve in Chuck’s … insight into the opposite sex in general and one in particular. Let’s get back to Ellie letting Chuck know how women feel about things. Morgan can continue occasionally giving Sarah insight into Chuck. That part has really been IMO fun and sweet (First Fight, Phase 3, and Balcony). Morgan and Sarah are golden, maybe b/c it hasn’t been over done, yet. Some of the Chuck and Morgan shtick has gotten old, but some of it is still fun (the TeamB Seal team, Morgan wondering how you fit clothes under a wet suit … funny)

      • ChuckNewbie8 says:

        I think you may be right Jason. But I don’t see any harm in playing (and it is somewhat different as well) up the fact that Chuck is a charming, handsome guy that other girls would want. ULI is different than PLI to me because if played for comedy it could be very fun. I don’t know maybe I’m hung up on jealous Sarah. I like that it brings out the girl in her. She’s always been so closed off that it was really the only glimpse into the girl and the girlfriend (in a fake relationship mind you) that we never get to see. But this time around I think it would be fun to see it as she’s confident in her guy, but isn’t quite sure about the women around him.

        Sarah’s possessiveness and attempts at protecting her property (Chuck) are always a delight to watch

        LOL! Indeed.

      • milkyway says:

        Very well said. Beside, nice recap and very good thoughts and highlights. Thank you. It’s a pleasure to read your text.

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  11. uplink2 says:

    Two things I would like to see early in this next episode is first the families reaction to the engagement. The proposal was perfect and private but I’d really like to see the reaction of Ellie in particular. Second is the final end of Ellie being in the dark and giving Chuck her ok to fulfill his destiny. She is a smart woman and certainly knows how to manipulate the men in her life. I don’t want to see her be portrayed as clueless anymore. Her mom is a spy and was rescued by her brother, who is marrying a spy, whose neighbor that she just announced as family is a spy, a “transport team” arrives just when she goes into labor, I mean come on its about time they say she has known all along. I mean Awesome can’t keep a lie that well for very long.

    On the jealousy discussion, on a personal level I find it a very repulsive emotion so if they don’t go there I’d be happy. Something like we saw in Suitcase is fine but not real jealousy. Its not attractive on anyone.

    • thinkling says:

      Ditto all of that Uplink!

      I can’t wait to see the reaction. Casey and Morgan of course know it’s been in the works. They’ve even helped. I’ll also be interested in MamaB’s reaction. I wonder if Ellie will once again feel slighted that Morgan and Casey knew, and she didn’t. Wonder what GB will say … and the Buymorons.

    • herder says:

      Excellent review thinkling, it’s been a busy few days and 80 comments is a bit much to reply to but something that Uplink said struck a chord. I’m not sure if it is jealousy that causes Sarah to act, but I think that her in the belly dancer outfit is somehow related to how she perceives Chuck to have reacted to the belly dancers in the coming mission. It could be that earlier she has to seduce someone and is uncomfortable about it leading to the “I’m not going to be dressing up as a belly dancer” line. Later Chuck has to allow himself to be seduced by a dancer and she likes that even less. Played for laughs rather than angst it could be funny. Even later you get the two of them having a discussion about it in the dungeon with Roan as captive audience.

    • atcDave says:

      Great comments Uplink. I agree with all; but I do think we’re going to get some mission induced jealousies. As long as they’re played for laughs I’m fine with that, it’s the heavy handed too serious reactions I never want to see again.

  12. Rick Holy says:

    One item that doesn’t require any deep thinking on anybody’s part. Was I the only one who thought that “spider device” that Sarah rolled out was WAY COOL!! It’d be nice to see a little more of that kind of stuff. (I know it’s probably not cheap, but it’s probably less expensive than explosions!). “CHUCK” kind of needs a “Q” type person who pops up every now and then with these nifty little gadgets. I know Chuck is supposed to be the techno-Geek, but that’s primarily with computers, not “way cool” spy gadgets!

    • herder says:

      He did come up with the tranq gloves in Suitcase which was kind of cool. I thought that he was going to become a bit of an inventor like Orion, but then they blew up the Orion Cave.

    • uplink2 says:

      That whole sequence was one of my favorite parts. The shoutout to both The Matrix and Transformers. I really enjoyed it and the music was spectacular. Loved the use of Rad Anthem there.

      All in all I think the first act of Push Mix was probably the best first act I have ever seen on the show for me at least. They stopped any thought of Chuck not trusting Sarah in the first minute, got Sarah and Mary working as a team, got Chuck pissed off enough to step up to the plate and then got under Volkoff’s skin with the recall of Orion. At that point I knew it was going to be an amazing episode.

  13. kg says:

    I’m sure many of you know this already, but Big Mike (Mark Christopher Lawrence) played a mental instution attendant in Terminator 2. Add in Linda Hamilton and Robert Patrick and that’s three CHUCK characters from one movie.

    • SWnerd says:

      Yeah, I totally caught that last night when I was watching T2. Poor Big Mike, he gets thrown into a window my the terminator. Linda Hamilton is so ripped in that movie. And she held a syringe with chemicals to a guy’s neck so she really was an inspiration for Sarah. 🙂

      • kg says:

        Right. To that dopey, clueless. condascending psychiatrist who somehow managed to survive the first movie.

  14. uplink2 says:

    I watched Seduction last night to get ready for Roan’s return and a couple of things hit me. First in the episode itself, it is amazing how well Sarah manipulated Chuck to get him to do the mission. The scene where she tells him he can live the life that he wants with whomever he wants was just as much manipulation as it was her true feelings showing through. That is why it is such a good scene. She puts just enough subtext of “that person can be and I want it to be me” in there that he would do anything for her and even that slimmest of possibilities that she will be available.

    Secondly it reminded me of how much fun season 2 was. How I left totally entertained and had such a great time watching it. That is how I am also feeling about this season and why I’m really excited for these next few episodes as they really seem to have brought the fun back full tilt. That feeling of just pure joy that Honeymooners finally brought back last season and all of the back six. Its become such a joy to watch the show again.
    I went back and re-read Mo Ryan’s interview with Fedak and all the comments and the common thread in all of it no matter how much Shaw did or didn’t bother you was that they took the joy of Chuck away. That seems to be the biggest lesson they have learned this season. What makes people overlook a lot of the problems with the show is that it is just such an enjoyable experience to be a part of. The fact that they decided to take that fun away for all of the reasons discussed over pages and pages of internet banter is ultimately why the show lost 2 million viewers. Folks can talk about DST and a million other reasons and certain elements of all are factors but the most common and important one was the decision to end virtually every episode with a depressing scene and have the viewer walk away upset by what they saw. In previous seasons most episodes ended with a Chuck/Sarah scene. Many times a very uplifting Chuck/Sarah scene. Season 3.0 rarely ended with a Chuck/Sarah scene and never an uplifting one till Beard. So why bother coming back if it simply isn’t as much fun as it once was.

    This season and the back 6 last year are all about bringing the fun back. I am really excited about the back 11 and I just hope that enough viewers stay or come back that we can get another season out of it.

    • atcDave says:

      Wow Uplink you’ve been doing some serious research! I like your analysis and agree. I remember in Seduction thinking Sarah’s manipulation of Chuck was one of her least appealing moments, at least until S3. You’re right that there might have been a shread of honest subtext there, but it always read to me like she had just exploited Chuck’s feelings for her in way I never remember her doing before or after. But it was mostly a fun episode, it will be interesting if Roan has any particular memories of working with them before (or if his brain is too pickled to even work that way!).
      I do agree about the major failing of S3. I think many of the season’s other deficiencies could have been overlooked if the Chuck/Sarah dynamic hadn’t been so damaged. Even if they’d been uncertain how/if they could have a real relationship together; skipping the OLIs and having for warm/friendly scenes for the leads together would have reduced frustration and backlash from the viewers.
      Ever since Honymooners the show has been vastly better. The fun is back, and I eagerly await every new episode now.

      • uplink2 says:

        Thanks Dave. I have enjoyed trying to build the background for me to better understand much of the history of the show. I plan on re-watching Wookie and yes I do plan on pulling out DVD 1 of season 3 for Three Words before Carina’s return. Though it is probably the only episode of the first 8 I will ever watch again. DVD 2 has absolutely no chance of ever leaving the box again. That is one big loss for this summer’s re-watch schedule. Instead of 78 I’ll probably only re-watch 70.

        As far as Seduction I think it became clear to both of them after First Date that there were quite real feelings there, even in First Date they had planned a second one that they had to call off. Sarah was open to them and I agree that she was in a way manipulating herself as much as Chuck. If she can get him to do the mission maybe she can have something real with him. Of course it all comes to a head in Break Up. I always have wondered what she was going to say to Chuck that she never did at the fountain. That great scene was the second time we were promised that Chuck would be the one to hear her real name first. And we know how that great scene was diminished by what came later.

        I also wonder why they never included the deleted scene where Sarah reassures Chuck that Bryce was in the past. Time is always a reason and the Morgan part was awkward but it is curious they left the reassurance out.

      • atcDave says:

        You’re braver than I about rewatching S3! I think Angel of Death, Operation Awesome, and Other Guy are the only ones I will willingly watch again. So I’ve got 10 no goes. A couple of those I don’t actually hate, but the whole S3 context is unappealing to me so I won’t bother.

        Several S2 deleted scenes could have reduced angst; I love the Chuck/Sarah pizza dinner, Sarah confronting Casey about a kill order, and Sarah helping Chuck prepare for his date with Jill. But I think that’s exactly why they were axed, TPTB were actually trying to increase the tension and uncertainty, not ease our minds. Too bad, I think those were all excellent scenes and the show was lessened by cutting them (not by much! S2 was outstanding).

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I think the best part of the scene in seduction was how aware they both where of what she was doing. Sarah displayed a slight discomfort that she was doing it, even if it was for his own good, and Chuck displayed a slight exasperation, whether at her, himself, or both, that it was coming down to this.

      • herder says:

        Then they later followed it up with the scene where Chuck said he wouldn’t be able to seduce anyone as his charm didn’t work with Sarah saying that it had worked on her. That and the statement that they were a couple, just not a usual one. Sarah seemed to be looking for a way to make the cover real, her manipulation was as much of herself as it was of Chuck (telling herself that she was getting close to him for the job, not because that was what she wanted). Of course Roan called her on it, him too, that is why Roan is such a great character, they let him say a lot of the things we wanted said.

      • atcDave says:

        I did like Chuck’s exasperation in that scene, he knows he’s being played.
        Roan’s bunt insight is a great part of his character. I wonder what nuggets he’ll have this Monday?

      • Ernie Davis says:

        I think Sarah’s “performance” will be Roan’s suggestion. 😉

      • uplink2 says:

        Ohhhhh I like that idea! Kind of a reverse “Montgomery” !!

      • atcDave says:

        Ohhh that could be fun. Have it be the end scene of the episode.

      • uplink2 says:

        Watch Morgan walk in a la Bryce and Chuck realizes that Sarah’s right and he has to go lol

      • atcDave says:

        I don’t know, I think Sarah and Morgan have bonded recently. Maybe Chuck is encouraging Morgan to move on while Sarah is trying to preserve the status quo (errr, okay maybe not!)

      • uplink2 says:

        Oh they have but you can bond with your next door neighbor just as easily as your roommate.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Well I think Morgan will still be a roommate when Carina comes back and assumes she has accommodations waiting… Which depending on how, when, and with whom else present she re-unites with Morgan could be (yes, I’m going there) both epic and awesome on the Chuck comedy scale.

      • herder says:

        Ernie, in that scenario, I see a French farce with lots of people sneaking down hallway, hiding in rooms and closets, doors opening and closing and lots of misunderstandings.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Herder! Ooohhh, Genius!! I hadn’t even thought of it as more than a spectacularly embarrassing Morgan moment with a very inappropriate Carina comment making things worse, but they could get quite a lot more mileage out of it. 😀

      • Tamara Burks says:

        I like the idea of a reverse Montgomery. Maybe Roan asks her how things worked out when he told Chuck to do a Montgomery the last time he was there.

    • weaselone says:

      Hi Uplink. You aren’t the only person who has watched Seduction in preparation for the return of the Silver Fox, Roan Montgomery. This episode should be a lot of fun and I have honestly been looking forward to it more than Push Mix and have higher expectations of the back 11 than I did for the first 13.

      Seduction is probably one of the best done episodes of Chuck. It had humor, passion, sweeping romantic gestures and Bryce Larkin. It was also central episode of the 3 part cipher arc which is arguably the strongest and most entertaining series of 3 episodes in the history of Chuck (First Date, Seduction, Break Up). What makes it all the more striking that Seduction is so highly regarded by fans is that this episode is a Sarah strikes back episode. Sarah opened herself to Chuck in First Date, but despite both intentional and unintentional kicking of the puppy dog during Seduction her efforts to get the genie back in the bottle are short circuited by Roan.

      • uplink2 says:

        Great analysis weaselone. Its amazing sometimes how many of the guest stars saw so clearly what the audience was seeing. I’m certain that was the intent but Roan and Carina both knew exactly what was going on no matter how much either tried to hide it or wouldn’t allow themselves to see it.

        Chuck’s comment to Roan about him not being a good spy after Roan tells him lesson #1 of spies don’t fall in love was one of the first times he verbally admits that he loves her without actually saying it. I loved that Roan tried to help Chuck in the end with “The Montgomery”. It was more than just a guy thing because he knew what they felt for each other was real.

        Now Bryce showing up was an obstacle but it was the beginning of the realization for Bryce that he had lost Sarah to Chuck. And in the end he proved to be the honorable man unlike Sham.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree about how strong that front S2 arc was. Three dynamite episodes. Funny, even a die hard ‘shipper like me loved Break Up. It served more to verify exactly what they both thought about each other than anything. It was the sort of break up that obviously ended nothing. Except maybe for Bryce, he knew he’d lost even if he didn’t admit it until Ring.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Agreed, the season 2 opening is one of the strongest arcs the show ever did. Both Seduction II and Cat Squad are considered standalone by TPTB, kind of like Honeymooners through Tooth, but I’m guessing like Honeymooners through Tooth functioned effectively as an arc that established Chuck and Sarah as a committed, if imperfect, couple (lots of secrets and lies, no communication and foot dragging on commitment issues), these two old friends episodes will establish what I’ll call the engagement equilibrium before they start to mess with it with, my favorite Faith coinage lately, ULI’s.

        Oh yes, the reason I mentioned Honeymooners, Schwedak mentioned Seduction II has a very Honeymooners feel, so my plan is to re-watch Seduction I and Honeymooners as prep. Can anyone think of a possible season 1 in that vein? I’m thinking Sandworm but it’s pretty light on Sarah and Chuck, but then my other thought, Truth (excellent episode) seems an odd fit.

      • weaselone says:

        You picked a tough one. I would probably suggest Tango if you’re looking for light-hearted fair. I consider it better than Sandworm, but it’s not as heavy or saddled with Chuck and Sarah conflict as some of the arguably better episodes of the season.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Weaselone, that’s a pretty decent idea. I was looking for something that seems thematically connected. In Seduction I there is a celebration of sorts after the near death experience (common Hero’s Journey theme by the way) and Chuck’s saving Sarah life has moved them to a new level. In Seduction I it’s “I think it’s safe to say I’ve never seen anyone quite like you” and the Montgomery. In Honeymooners it’s basically the entire episode following Paris. That’s why I had Truth or Sandworm in mind. In Tango it’s Sarah who does the saving, it is Chuck’s first mission after all, but there is still that connection at the end.

      • herder says:

        I had intended to rewatch Push Mix tonight, after reading this I’ll add seduction, maybe Honeymooners too (I never need too much encouragement to rewatch that one). Any others to add to my increasingly longer list for tonight (and maybe tomorrow).

      • uplink2 says:

        Any time I get in re-watch mode it always seems I re-watch the Pilot followed by whatever the most current episode is. Everything I love about this show is in the Pilot and I love watching how far this journey has taken them from the day Sarah walked into the BuyMore with a broken phone. So I always suggest that one.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Well both Tom Sawyer and Santa Claus are similar episodes, fun and relatively light standalones in the aftermath Chuck coming through for his woman.

        How late are you staying up tonight? 😉

      • weaselone says:

        Another option is Wookie in which Chuck and Carina work together to save Sarah. There is a significant amount of fun in the episode, but both Chuck and Sarah are chafing under the constraints imposed by their situations which leads to conflict in their relationship.

      • weaselone says:

        90 Twinkies in 3 minutes. Jeff might die. And with that Seduction for the 2nd time in as many days.

      • atcDave says:

        On a similar but unrelated note I love pairing Helicopter and Phase 3 just for the change in Sarah. From her hero and responsibility speeches in Helicopter to “forget about the intel, what about Chuck!”.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Uplink, good call. I have what I call my Readers Digest re-watch list. It took shape from my iTunes list. These are the episodes that stand out as having the most plays and all are fairly close in the number of plays with each other, so I took the pattern as a sign of how I watch.

        Season 1: Pilot, Tango, Wookie, Truth, Marlin

        Then I get into trouble since I pretty much go straight through to Fat Lady, though I sometimes skip The Ex.

        Season 2: First Date through Tom Sawyer, Fat Lady, DeLorean, Santa Claus, Suburbs, Best Friend, Predator, Colonel and Ring I

        Season 3: Three Words, Angel, Nacho Sampler, Final Exam, Other Guy, Honeymooners, Role Models, Subway/Ring II

        Season 4: Suitcase, Coup, Phase 3

        But the numbers on season 4 aren’t really big enough to be truly telling.

      • JC says:

        What’s interesting is that in some of the recently released stills from Cat Squad it looks like Lou Diamond Phillips has Sarah and the other blond member captured. So do we get another Chuck and Carina team-up to save the day?

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        JC

        You are forgetting the fourth member of the CAT squad – the brunette one played by Mercedes Mahson (Zondra). Maybe Chuck teams up with both Carina and Zondra to rescue Sarah and Amy. Or maybe Carina is left in Burbank – dealing with Morgan, Alex and Casey. 🙂

      • uplink2 says:

        I do think in time one of my most re-watched 3 ep arcs will be Balcony, Gobbler and Push Mix. Now that we ahve finished that journey I can really appreciate so much that I couldn’t get my hands around in Gobbler. It all makes beautiful sense especially in light of the proposal bookending all of it.

        I have never really gotten Tom Sawyer but I read in many places that is is considered by many as one of the best of season 2. It was just before I started watching the show as I think
        The Ex was my first. I’ve only watched it twice so maybe its time to go take a look at that one again. Same with Truth and much of season 1. I need to go back for a long weekend and watch the later half of season 1 again a few times.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Uplink, I like Tom Sawyer just for a great standalone. There are SO many great scenes and moments, and the final montage to Rush is pure GENIUS! I prefer Fat Lady to Ex, but mostly because I’m a sucker for a good cliffhanger ending. And a good montage.

        Like I said, the numbers are still small for season 4, but Balcony through Push Mix each have either 2 or 3 watches so far while Aisle through FOD and Leftovers each have about 3-5 despite having been out since November.

      • weaselone says:

        I was originally fairly unimpressed with Tom Sawyer, but it’s an episode that has grown on me, much like Jeff seeded fungus would have grown in the nerd herders had Emmet not had them reupholstered.

      • weaselone says:

        On another note, is Roan the first spy that suggests Chuck carry a gun?

      • JC says:

        @Genie

        Obliviously one of the Cat Squad will end up being traitor working for Lou Diamond Phillips. I’m going to go out on a limb and say it isn’t Carina or Sarah. So that leaves Zondra and Amy (looked up the name) so if she’s tied up with Sarah that leaves Zondra as the bad one.

        Plus isn’t there a part of you that wants to see a Chuck and Carina tag team fight. I know I do.

      • atcDave says:

        My replay list is similar to Ernie’s. Except for S1 sub Helicopter for Truth. My S2 list is really all except Ex, Sensei, and Beefcake. S3 is just Angel of Death and Honeymooners. So far, S4 I rewatch the whole thing; I’m guessing in the next couple cycles I’ll start skipping Anniversary.

      • uplink2 says:

        So after this discussion today I went and re-watched Tom Sawyer. It is a really good episode. I just didn’t put too much into it the first 2 times I saw it based on it being a Jeff Barnes centered episode and how could that be that great but there is so much more to it. The Sarah Ellie scene was great and we have had woefully too few of those. The “I trust Chuck” line from Sarah was fantastic and she was vindicated for believing it. Plus the wish scene was great. Beyond all of the relationship stuff she really believed he was something special and deserving of what she could do for him.

        But the episode goes back to something else I talked about in this thread. The episode ends with a great uplifting Chuck/Sarah scene that you walk away hopeful and entertained by. If you go back to the great episodes listed up above from Tango, Wookie, Marlin, First Date, Seduction, Break up, DeLorean, Lethal Weapon, Colonel even Ring 1, they all ended with a great Chuck/Sarah scene and for the most part all very hopeful ones but never really depressing. We didn’t see one uplifting scene with them them until 3.13 and the only hopeful closing scene before that was the Three Words scene that was completely forgotten going forward. The only real Chuck/Sarah scenes were the depressing ending of Pink Slip and the god awful ending of Mask. That is one of the reasons why it was perceived differently. When you look at season 4 most of the highest re-watched episodes all end the same way as Season 1 and 2. Suitcase, Coup, Balcony and now Push Mix Chuck and Sarah the cornerstone of the show were featured in a very uplifting way. It seems they have learned that lesson at least.

      • atcDave says:

        Well put again Uplink.

  15. silvercat42 says:

    Thanks very much for the good analysis, everybody. After just finishing watching Balcony through Push Mix, it’s one of my top three favorites… along with the first three episodes of Season 2, and episodes 11-13 in Season 3.

    Also want to add my voice to those who feel Tom Sawyer is a great stand alone episode. For the longest time I thought I was one of the only fans who thought it was, but I’ve lately seen it turn up on several fans’ favorite lists. I must confess I loved the homage to my favorite video game of the 80s. Spent a lot of time and money on Missile Command at my local pizza place. Of course, the highlight for me was Sarah dressed as a Nerd Herder (wow!). And I also loved Sarah telling Chuck to wish on the satellite as it burned through the atmosphere. For me the proposal speech in Balcony would have been even more romantic if he would have told Sarah that she was what he wished for…

    • thinkling says:

      Tom Sawyer is one of my favorites, too. It gave us a great Sarah/Ellie moment and Chuck is like a duck. Each member of the team did what he/she did best. Sarah trusts Chuck more than an Air Force ICBM. Chuck’s degree, thanks to Sarah, Casey, and the CIA. Exploding video games. Chuck a real hero, getting the applause he so richly deserves for something much better than getting to the kill screen. Sarah driving it home, How does it feel to be a hero, Mr. Bartowski? Love that episode.

      • atcDave says:

        I remember listing my handful of perfect episodes a couple months back, and Tom Sawyer did make the list. I’m partial towards stand alones anyway, and 2.05 is high on my list of the best.
        I also love Sarah’s trusting Chuck more than the Air Force (of course, I would too if they thought an ICBM was a good choice for bringing down a satellite. That’s completely not what they are used for; an ASM or ASAT is a more appropriate choice). The ending montage is brilliant, Chuck on Missile Command while Sarah wipes out the baddies. And of course, “make a wish” one of the best Charah moments from the pre-Honeymooners era.

      • Ernie Davis says:

        Forgot to mention I also loved the applause, and the Sarah version in Suitcase was a great callback.

      • Big Kev says:

        Great point, Thinkling. The balance between “artistic integrity” and poll-driven storytelling is often a fine one. For myself, I know one of the first things that will drive me away from a show is if I get a sense that the fans are obviously driving the story. Parts of S4 have felt like that to me, to be honest.
        But equally, you have to know where the broad mass of your fanbase sits, and write something that keeps them on board – all the while without looking like you’re pandering. It’s a tough line to walk. Add budget pressures and having many of the available stories already told – let’s just say whatever comments I make here are always made in the full realization that I could never actually do what these guys do, so I try – not always successfully – to cut them as much slack as I can.

      • atcDave says:

        Believe it or not Kev I agree entirely. There is nothing more annoying than a show that has no integrity, no vision; and is purely about pandering to the lowest common denominator. When the “good stuff” comes too easily a show quickly becomes boring.

        Now you know I’ve never seen Chuck that way. I honestly think the wt/wt had played out at Colonel (from a viewers perspective), and the story we’re seeing now is what I think S3 should have been. But I do think if S3 hadn’t been handled the way it was, I would likely have far more patience with struggles and obstacles than I do now.

      • Big Kev says:

        Sorry all – meant to post this in reply to one of Thinkling’s points further down – not this post. Sorry for the confusion.

      • uplink2 says:

        Agreed. It is a fine line. The old adage of don’t give fans what the want, give them what they need. Artistic integrity and telling the story you want to tell is great but if you are going to do something that will bother the core of your fanbase you need to do it well and show the justification for it. That’s what is meant by what the fans need. In the case of season 3 simply put they didn’t give the fans what they needed in terms of justification or explanation of why they were going there and it has led to them now swinging much further towards what the fans want. I don’t think they have gone too far but I can see how some might.

        Now with season 4.5 I believe they are going back to a good mix and hopefully it will be enough to sustain it for a season 5.

      • thinkling says:

        Right Dave, there’s nothing worse than a show that panders to the lowest common denominator … boring, banal, and usually crude.

        Big Kev, TPTB got too far outside of the broad mass of the fan base. That’s a good way to describe what they have to do.

    • silvercat42 says:

      I meant “top three, 3 episode arcs.

      • atcDave says:

        That’s amazingly specific. I agree about 2.01-2.03 and 4.11-4.13, but 3.11 is like number one on my “will never watch again” list. In fact, the only time I saw it was on an old 11 inch NTSC TV that didn’t even have a good picture; when I got home I deleted it off my DVR, so I’ve never even seen it in high-def. Ugh.

        I can’t really think of another 3-episode arc where I thought all three were worthy. But that really is the limitation of a three episode arc. The only other one I can think of is the Jill arc; which I actually like a lot in hindsight, but I still don’t care for The Ex. It was neither fun nor funny.

      • silvercat says:

        Well, I can understand why many people don’t like Final Exam, but as a setup episode for American Hero and The Other Guy, it worked for me. I found it a necessary part of both Chuck and Sarah’s journeys into each others’ arms. Also, unlike you, Dave, dark episodes don’t particularly bother me, if they advance the story.

      • weaselone says:

        Depends on how you group the arcs. For example Hard Salami, Nemesis and Crown Vic sort of form the season 1 Bryce arc with Hard Salami as the setup, Nemesis as the meat and Crown Vic as the fall out.

      • atcDave says:

        Yeah but weaselone I always considered that a four episode arc (Truth in front!).

        I suppose a lot of arcs can be defined differently based on which interconnecting stories you wish to include.

        Silvercat you are completely right about my reaction to Final Exam. I find the whole Red Test idea abhorrent and I don’t even want to think about it. Seriously, if I were any less invested in the show I would have deleted the whole series from my DVR right there. What it did to the show Chuck was like including a gang rape in Bambi. Grotesque.

        Man I’m glad S3 is over.

      • Verkan_Vall says:

        Silvercat:

        I’m glad someone is able to find season 3 entertaining; I’m afraid that I can’t, and the Final Exam is at the heart of it. That show, in one way or another, drove 5 people I know away from Chuck: 3 people the night it was broadcast and two more when 3.17 was broadcast, and people found out that Sarah spent the day after the red test off the grid in Shaw’s bachelor pad. As my one friend told me on his way out the door

        “I’m tired of them pissing in my face and telling me to like it.”

        I used to think that 3.12 and 3.13 were decent enough until 3.17 came out and undercut them both. The fact is that nothing in season 3 was necessary; they could have done the whole season a half a dozen different ways. And Chuck and Sarah’s journey into each others arms? The Final Exam and the call back to it from The Living Dead threatens to make any long-term relationship between Chuck and Sarah impossible. Why?

        Because Daniel Shaw murdered Stephen Bartowski in cold blood, in front of his children. And no one marries someone who slept with his parent’s murderer. If Sarah Walker and Daniel Shaw were lovers, then Shaw put a bullet through the heart of the show when he killed Chuck’s father, and the show has been on life support ever since.

        Season 3 makes Season 4 impossible, which is why I try to ignore Season 3.

      • Rick Holy says:

        @Vernkan_Vall. EXCELLENT point, my friend, excellent point. What made season 3 so bad, was not necessarily the “darkenss” or the “angst,” but what it did to really destroy some of the characters that we came to know and love.

        I know others have mentioned this ad nauseum, but if Sarah really cares about Chuck after the “red test,” even if her feelings of “love” are uncertain, but REALLY cares about Chuck, she’s be there to at least talk to him about HIS “red test.” She knew how terrible it was for HER – so she would have HAD to have known how much worse it was for HIM!!

        Anyway, it saddens me, because S3 – and I know we’ve grown tired of rehashing this – but S3 had such promise I believed to “grow the show.” Instead it brought it down, and I don’t think we’ve recovered yet. If we don’t get a S5, we can’t blame it on S4 (even if some found parts of S4 not to their liking). The blame lies with S3. S4 has been I believe a worthy attempt to bring the show back from oblivion after S3, but unfortunately when enough people “turn off,” you’re in trouble.

        Anyway, I’m enjoying this season. Except for a few clunker episodes, it’s been a great season. Will it be the last? If it is, I’m glad were going out on a Season 4 note than a Season 3.

      • atcDave says:

        Verken, I agree with your intense dislike of S3. And I know we lost a lot of viewers forever because of it. But I think we need to look at Sarah as a victim of Shaw’s evil just like Stephen Bartowski. You know she would have killed Shaw herself if she could have saved Orion. It was just a poorly written story, and they have bent over backwards to make amends for it.

      • uplink2 says:

        I agree with much of what you say Verkan_Vall. The other part of the absurdity of the interrogation scene in Living Dead are the earrings. No woman especially not Sarah Walker would ever wear earrings that were given to her by a man that tried to kill her. It is an absolutely ridiculous concept even in the stupidity of Season 3. I know 3.17 was played for comedy but sometimes what they have to do to get the comedy isn’t worth what they get.

      • atcDave says:

        I would agree that attempting to make lite of it in 3.17 actually made everything worse. It made plausible deniability for those of us who wanted it difficult. 3.17 is mostly a good episode except for the “interrogation” scene; but that was bad enough. I won’t refuse to watch Living Dead again, but it won’t get many re-watches either.

      • Big Kev says:

        Completely agree, Uplink. That interrogation scene for me is possibly the most character-destructive of the whole season. And that’s saying something. I didn’t like the Shaw/Sarah arc, but I could accept that a broken and rejected Sarah would seek solace in someone who understands her life and choices. And if they slept together, that’s really no one else’s business – including Chuck’s.
        But keeping earrings from someone who tried to kill you? That’s behaviour from someone who’s not quite right in the head. Definitely not worth doing that to one of your major characters, just for a laugh.

      • uplink2 says:

        Dave, I agree that 3.17 eliminated the plausible deniability of an intimate relationship that many of us were holding on to. I am one who firmly believes that if it isn’t shown or mentioned on the show then it didn’t happen. I reject a lot of the it happened off-screen stuff. If it is important enough that we need to know it then show us.

        In the case of 3.17 first they have Stephen call Shaw, Sarah’s lover, he could have easily referred to him as the man who tried to kill her instead. Then we get the interrogation scene and the blatant attempt to humorously pull at Chuck’s insecurities for what, to find that he had a safe in his penthouse? They damaged the characters seriously for a little bit of comedy and a little bit of intel. Then it made the fact that Sarah and Shaw had been intimate canon. Was it worth it? Hell no, but that is part of the bizarre logic of the entire arc. I see much of what was done in the back 6 as an attempt to justify or at least make up for what they even knew was a poorly conceived and poorly executed front 13. In much of the fanbase they basically did salvage something by it all and that is why I’m so convinced we will never see or hear from Daniel Shaw again.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree that we are unlikely to ever hear of Shaw again. I think when they did S3.5 they knew they had to make nice with their core fans; but I don’t think they’d really grasped yet how POed so many of us were. They thought they could laugh at it, but that wound still too sore to be funny. It was really only funny to the viewers who weren’t already POed.

      • uplink2 says:

        They really hadn’t because when it had been written was before the full extent of Chuckpocalypse happened. I think they were prepared for it coming and in part expected it but in the interview after Mask they never really talked honestly and openly about it. It was all damage control and “trust us we are further along in the story”. They never grasped the real reasons behind it. They like some season 3 apologists even today believed it was simply that Chuck and Sarah weren’t together when it was so much more than that. It was mostly about how poorly it was done. The only time I think they gave a real honest answer was in the Mo Ryan interview when Fedak started to talk about it but then stopped himself and gave the scripted answer instead.

      • atcDave says:

        I remember that “we’re already past that” line. One of the most telling quotes ever, they knew they couldn’t really even defend their own story.
        They haven’t tried the “we’re professionals” bit for a while either. Talk about a double edged sword, they tried to use it to say we should trust them; but to me its always meant they should have known better.

      • thinkling says:

        Dave … a double-edged sword indeed. Not a very smart thing of professionals to say when their fans are falling peeling off by the thousands.

        Tricky balance. Writing the story they want to hear and making it one their viewers want to watch. Their reaction struck me as a little arrogant. It was the tail wagging the dog, and in their business, the dog always wins.

      • Verkan_Vall says:

        @atcDave:

        I don’t blame Sarah for Orion’s death. Shaw killed Orion, but before TPTB went and killed someone in cold blood in front of that character’s children (and yes, I think that’s going too far for an 8 pm show), they should have given it some thought beyond “hey, let’s send Scott Bakula off with a bang!”.

        The murder of a parent opens an immense gulf: the children of the victim are on one side and the lovers of the murderer are on the other; people do not cross that gap. Consider it a corallary to the Oedipus Complex, a causus belli, a cause for a blood feud, whatever, but it isn’t going to happen. Could Chuck and Sarah be friends and co-workers? Sure. Lovers, yes. But husband and wife?

        Imagine this:

        You are standing beside your father when your enemy shoots him, not out of revenge or hate, but just as if he was a pawn to be removed from the chessboard. Your father falls to the ground; you put your arms around him, and his blood scalds you.

        You look into his eyes and he says his last words to you, and then he is gone. And every thing you wanted to say to him, every question you might have wanted to ask him, are stolen from you, and his future with you is ripped away. Now ask yourself this: Could you

        Laugh with someone
        Cry with someone
        Make love to someone
        Sleep in their arms at night
        Hold their hand at breakfast
        Choose furniture
        Pick a pet
        Plan a future, a family

        Knowing, all the while, that everything you did, ANYTHING you did, was done first by the person who murdered your father in front of you, and who smiled when they pulled the trigger?

        And that’s just Chuck, what about Ellie? or Orion’s widow?

        When they set this up, they created a situation that is just wrong, that strikes at emotions that go below conscious thought. That is the problem, it isn’t about logic, it is about emotion. The plotting, the writing and a great cast forged a series of emotional bonds with the audience in the first 2 seasons and then TPTB took a blowtorch to those bonds in season 3.

        I have no sympathy for the showrunners at all, they did this to us and themselves deliberately. Season 4 is great, but the feedback I’m getting from Chuck fans who have left the show indicates that Shaw is the sticking point and they just can’t get past it. For them, TPTB won’t have made amends until they fix season 3, and they’ll never do that.

        So I tell people to ignore season 3 (embrace the fail? NEVER!). I think Push Mix might help with that, a new baby means a new life, maybe for the show as well.

        Here’s hoping.

        Thanks for your patience.

      • atcDave says:

        I agree about ignoring S3, but not the rest of what you say. I think its not fair to say Sarah “laughed” while Shaw pulled the trigger; in fact she didn’t, she was already in jail due to Shaw’s manipulations. Sarah was a victim of Shaw, and she CLEARLY allied herself with Chuck and his loved ones BEFORE it was even clear Shaw was a nut job. I don’t think Chuck or Ellie will ever see Sarah as being on Shaw’s side in any way. He tried to kill Sarah, and she drew on him and punched him in the head all before he attacked Orion.

        Now if other viewers can’t get over that, the best response is just that Shaw will never be back. They will never bring such a reviled character back to the show. You can bank on that.

      • Tamara Burks says:

        I agree with you Verkan. They should have wiped that whole bit with the pile of receipts and Papa B referring to Shaw as Sarah’s lover .

        No one wants to go where thier father’s killer went before, especially since they met the person they love long before said killer ever did and the killer got very far very quickly . They just went to a very icky place when they made it clear she had slept with Shaw and they really should not have gone there.

      • Verkan_Vall says:

        @atcDave:

        I’m sorry I didn’t express myself more clearly; I never meant to suggest that Sarah did anything on that list while Orion was killed. Shaw was the one who smiled when he pulled the trigger; the list of actions was a list of things that Sarah and Shaw might have done together from the time they first met up until the riverbank in Paris.

        When I say “laugh with someone” I refer to something like the date in the restaurant in the first part of American Hero. This is more about Chuck and Shaw; Shaw’s shadow is going to fall over their marriage and could be brought to mind by just about anything. It would be an emotional minefield for Chuck.

        As far as Ellie and Mary’s reaction to Sarah being with Shaw, I have 4 sisters and my mother is still alive: if someone had murdered my father in front of them, I can state with some certainty that they would have issues with me marrying someone who slept with his killer. To put it mildly.

        I won’t post about this again, Dave. We see life differently, I think because of our experiences; you’re more of an optimist than I am. And that is a good thing.

        When I try to talk people back into watching the show now, I let them vent about Shaw and the showrunners and say “watch the Honeymooners arc, and season 4; you won’t be disappointed. Ignore the rest of season 3.” No Shaw, no aggravation.

        I hope you’re right about Shaw not coming back; one of the pair of former viewers I’ve gotten to come back to the show has a bet with me: he says Shaw will return before the end of the show, TPTB love him too much. I took that bet in a heartbeat. The problem is, I can’t remember the last time I won a bet with this guy.

        I’m due, I hope.

      • Verkan_Vall says:

        @Uplink2 and Big Kev:

        The two of you have just put your respective fingers on something that has bothered me about that episode since the first time I saw it: Sarah’s behaviour with the earrings and the cry of “Oh my God….Daniel!” in 3.18 is, considering everything that Shaw does in Paris, just nuts.

        I know that at least one woman on another blog has said that diamonds don’t absorb emotions; it doesn’t matter who gave them to you, they are diamonds, you wear them.

        So I’ve asked a few women that I know what they would have done, and most said that they would sell them. Two woman (both blood relations) said that they would go to Paris and throw the damned diamonds into the damned river after him.

        What were those writers thinking?

  16. jason says:

    last night, I took some advice here and watch the seduction and tom sawyer. Just a few notes:

    tom sawyer delivered, I have not re-watched s1/s2 eps near as much as many of you, I enjoyed a great deal, just struck a chord with me, and will be an ep I rewatch again

    seduction prior to the end, just awesome, I forgot, chuck living with ellie / awesome is so like morgan living with chuck / sarah in s4.

    the roan – sarah – chuck seduction training is a scene I do remember, but I forgot that chuck said he would try to talk about music when seducing, just funny, since he often has talked about music with sarah over the 4 seasons.

    finally, awesome was trying to seduce ellie while chuck was trying to seduce the mark, wonder if 4×14 will have a real versus fake seduction parallel thing going on?

    seduction was another perfect ep – until TPTB killed the puppy in the last 30 seconds, to me, it was this tendancy shown by TPTB, that finally caught up with them in S3, and which slowly eroded fan support during all 4 seasons, you just can’t have a show based on such an irrational premise with such a weak dramatic cast, and try to end episodes by kicking the fan right square in the stomach you just entranced with the quirkly love affair known as chuck and sarah

    • JC says:

      It isn’t the cast that has problem with more dramatic episodes or arcs, its the writing that’s the problem. If anything the cast saved some of weaker dramatic episodes.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        No arguments there. 🙂

      • jason says:

        JC – I have stated this several times, I am not trying to cut them down, sarah and chuck are pretty good dramatic actors, but even they are not real strong dramatic characters, josh has been surprisingly good dramatically this season, especially with sarah, but is near a cartoon caricature in this show (I mean Casey just called him an elf in the last ep), but the notion of a brother in law named awesome, and a B plot in the buymore with jeff and lester, drama really leaves the station.

        I guess what you are saying is true, the buymore and the characters are all writing … but I don’t think if the chuck cast read for parts from Gone With the Wind’s remake versus say Fringe’s, or Burn Notice’s, or Castle’s – well, Zach might just win, and Scarlet et er Sarah and Ellie (is that role Scarlet’s sister or sister in law – LOL) too – ok – JC – you are right – I yield the floor to you

    • atcDave says:

      Jason that last 30 seconds of Seduction is the singular thing that keeps the episode from my all-time favorites list. It’s funny because, like so often, it really turns out to be no big deal. In fact, I know many have pointed out the “break up” of the following episode is really Bryce and Sarah; at least, that’s when Bryce mostly realizes he’s lost Sarah. But they did love tweaking that cheap angst meter. I so wish they had used the alternate opening to Break Up that is on the S2 discs; but with or without it, the end scene of Seduction is quickly shown to be no big deal in 2.03.

      • joe says:

        Dave, I’m coming to the conclusion that these things are big deals only if we let them. How big seems to vary with time, too.

        I’m starting to think of the [dreaded organ music!] name reveal in the same way. It *is* a big deal. But the moment Sarah told Heather “[It’s] Sarah Walker. And don’t you forget it.”, that was it. A big deal, cut down to size.

        I know that for some of these things, we’d like to have them re-visited to arrive at some satisfying conclusion or dramatic cathartic moment. We can’t count on that. In most cases, we can’t say they were forgotten, though.

      • Verkan_Vall says:

        Joe, I have to disagree with you here.

        The name reveal IS a big deal; that doesn’t mean they’ll ever touch it again of course. But the problem won’t be solved or reduced in size by what Sarah says to Heather, it is what she has to say to Chuck.

        If they’re going to get married, to build a life together, do you really think that Chuck is going to be ok with:

        “The woman of my dreams won’t tell me her real name, but she told the guy who murdered my father, in cold blood, in front of me and my sister.”

        That kind of thing has to be dealt with, one way or the other; which is why TPTB will ignore it, of course.

      • atcDave says:

        In a way you’re totally right Joe. We make the decision to care about a fictional world and characters, so its all no more than what we make of it. Certain things of course, are designed to get big reactions out of us. For myself, I get more excited out of emotionally upbeat or viscerally exciting endings than I do out of emotionally downbeat ones (As you’ve likely noticed, I treat downbeat with hostility; its just not what I watch TV for). The ending of Seduction was certainly not enough to ruin the episode for me; especially not when, as I said, the following episode showed it to be no big deal; but it does keep it off any favorites list of mine (although as we were discussing yesterday, I do regard the whole arc very favorably).

        I think Sarah’s line to Heather was a sort of damage control. It does help us feel better after the betrayal of the name reveal (I always felt more betrayed by the writers than the characters). But I really thought the name reveal was set up from Helicopter to be a big deal (“did you really think my name was Sarah?”); and then they flushed it down the toilet in Fake Name. To me that is a gross violation of the writer/audience relationship and there is really no fixing it. But at least the “its Sarah Walker” moment was as close to an apology as we can actually get on screen.

        I think a lot of S4 has been about making amends for S3. They’ve mostly succeeded, even though on some things there’s just no going back.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Ah! I do love the days between episodes. We get to discuss our favorite moments and characters *cough Plywood cough* from Season 3. Good times indeed. 😉

      • jason says:

        joe, i have begun writing something comparing the ‘limits’ that wt/wt’s set in some comparable shows, burn notice, fringe, castle, etc …. I think the reason chuck got stuck taking on water while the others are sailing the ‘ship’ on smoother waters, is very early, possibly in the pilot, chuck and sarah got wrote too hot, too close, too much in love at first site, to play the traditional aloof girl and ‘too cool for school’ leading man.

        The other factor I see, chuck and sarah seem like kids compared to the other wt/wt’s who largely look and feel like they have been around the block a few times, watching seduction and tom sawyer reminded me, sarah talks like a fifteen year old in the first two seasons of the show.

        Given chuck’s innocence vs the other male leads in the wt/wt – then all of a sudden in season 3, TPTB crossed a line in the other direction to cool them off … I think I get what they ‘tried’ to do, and I take Fedak at his word, the comment about finding the limit.

        But I do take exception to season 3 being some flaw in the fan base, I am pretty sure the writers room saw it, the actors saw it, and TPTB saw it … unfortunately, by the time they saw it, the show had been shot so all they could do was release a bunch of film from the second half of the season and hope the fans forgave them. I did not fogive them for the longest time, but I think I am there now.

        But, given what they did, they have very little room to end episodes with CS in a bad place …. they have just about used that ‘trick’ up. All of us have to be concerned this is a ‘one trick’ show, certainly 4×6, 4×8, 4×11 & 4×12 went back the the CS split apart theme and variation to generate cliffhangers. Time will tell I guess?

      • atcDave says:

        Some very good points Jason, I agree with most. I’m pretty sure Chuck comes across a bit young on purpose, he is completely out of his element in the spy world. I never saw it that way on Sarah.
        I agree the “heat” between Chuck and Sarah started fast (I would say a little in the Pilot, but more with Tango). And they shared their first intense kiss in 1.09, Castle and Beckett only just got to it in 3.12. And of course Levi and Strahovski are riveting on screen together. I also suspect Colonel was written more intense than their original outline called for because of the looming cancellation threat.
        So I think it really led to a genie out of the bottle situation by the end of S2. Even if the pace was quite fast by television standards, there was no way to step back a bit without seriously ticking people off.

      • weaselone says:

        Sarah does act a little young when it comes to the real relationships in her, probably because here opportunity to forge real, lasting relationships during her life was essentially nonexistent.

    • atcDave says:

      Oh and Jason, just for the record… go Packers! (I mean it. I lack the antipathy towards them most Bears fans seem to feel, and I do see myself as an NFC guy. Just don’t get me started on the Vikings…)

      • jason says:

        he thx appreciate it, you get so few chances at super bowls, win and you are in the conversation for the greatest team / qb of your generation, lose and you are bums, tough business – steelers are champions already, going to make it doubly or triply difficult

      • atcDave says:

        You know how football goes; every season the top twelve teams make the playoffs, and eleven of them will end their season with a loss. (Packers are down to 50/50!)

      • kg says:

        My team defeated each of the final four participants. Doesn’t appear to be much of a super matchup. I have no love for the Steelers even though I’m an AFC guy. And I can’t “crown” or back a rapist. Pardon me, an alleged rapist.

  17. Faith says:

    One more day! *Dancing*.

    • alladinsgenie4u says:

      I am joining you 🙂 Virtual Group Dance FTW!! But first I have to clear my head – been reading today’s Season 3 discussion with the aid of liberal doses of brain bleach. 😉

      • Faith says:

        Ah S3 talks…I’m skeptical of the long term effects of excessive use of brain bleach so I’ve started my own supplemental therapy:

        Ah, I feel better ;). LOL.

      • atcDave says:

        Faith you have found the ONLY effective therapy!

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        WHAT? Are you questioning the magical abilities of Genie’s Brain Bleach. There are absolutely no long term effects – it says so on the bottle. 😉 Where’s my PR Manager? Thinkling, we cant afford suspicions being cast on our product. Do something. ASAP. 😀

        But Faith’s supplemental therapy is also good – see, I respect my competitors. 🙂

      • Faith says:

        Competition? No competition ;). Alladins’ brain bleach is a Chuckthisblog staple.

        Thanks Dave, I don’t know about you but I swear when I see this, I hear Nina Simone in my head and automatically feel better :D. What can I say, this is among the reasons why I love Chuck.

      • thinkling says:

        Right … aspalutely no side thingies with this product.
        Brain leech. Ah, sprain speech. Hang on I’ll get it. Pain beach. Um, train peach.

        Can I have some more?

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Brain leech. Ah, sprain speech. Hang on I’ll get it. Pain beach. Um, train peach.

        That’s what you get when you mix pure brain bleach with unadulterated shipper sigs. 😉 It’s a fatal combination. 🙂

        note to self *fire Thinkling. Cant have her condition announced so openly on the only blog that tolerates Brain Bleach.* 🙂

      • thinkling says:

        Brain Bleach. Tada.

        Sorry, just had to reboot.

      • alladinsgenie4u says:

        Brain Bleach. Tada.
        Sorry, just had to reboot.

        LOL. Nice save. You get to keep your job. 🙂

      • thinkling says:

        🙂

      • uplink2 says:

        Sorry guys, some times no matter how much I try I just can’t help wading into that cesspool again. lol

      • Faith says:

        I know what you mean Uplink…but we must fight the force. Wait… LOL.

        Thinkling, you are special. Though I think I’m late in saying that..foiled again! 😀

      • atcDave says:

        So Thinkling, does it make you wonder in what sense of the word Faith means “special?”

      • thinkling says:

        Dave, I maintain full license for interpreting that statement. But since “special” has had such a drastic change in meaning, it’s one of those words where connotation supplants denotation.

        Lucky for me I stock Alladins’s product

    • Ernie Davis says:

      Guys, embrace the fail. Without it we wouldn’t have Honeymooners, or Suitcase, or, well, frankly, Chuck and Sarah. TPTB pooched it so bad that they now NEED Charah (to resurrect that term) as an ongoing theme. I thank Brandon Routh and Jay Leno every day that I still have my Chuck.

      • thinkling says:

        Jay Leno??

      • uplink2 says:

        You are probably right Ernie. I wonder if it hadn’t been received so badly would we have the greatness that is Chuck and Sarah in season 4. Great call on Leno too. If it wasn’t for that disaster it would have been 13 only starting in March. But I can never thank Brandon for anything other than getting shot and bashed upside the head with a pipe. 😉

      • thinkling says:

        Ah, OK. Now I get the Leno thing.

      • AtcDave says:

        I agree there’s a lot of truth to that. But I don’t think it’s absolute. I’m pretty sure Chuck and Sarah would have been together by now either way; but I think the way S3 was received guaranteed that Charah would be pretty stable and that the overall tone of the show would be lighter.

  18. Ernie Davis says:

    Today. Stillers. Tomorrow Chuck, featuring Sarah belly-dancing. 😀

    • atcDave says:

      Now be honest Ernie; did my earlier pro Packers talk instigate the gravatar change?

    • Ernie Davis says:

      I was sort of planning on this but got bogged down with other stuff before I made the change, but yes, a little. I’ll go back to Chuck tomorrow, but for now I need to represent, cause I’m probably going to be scarce on the blog tonight.

  19. Pingback: Episode of the Week: Chuck vs The Push Mix (4.13) | Chuck This

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